Ireland referendum: Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, abortion rights groups claim win

Ireland referendum: Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, abortion rights groups claim win

The result would appear to indicate a sea change in Irish attitudes to women's rights in the intervening 35 years, since the ban on abortion was enshrined in Ireland's constitution with the support of 67 percent of the nation's voters in 1983.

Votes are still being counted Saturday but both sides agree with exit polls showing a 2-1 nationwide vote to #RepealThe8th.

"The public have spoken".

On Saturday, the prime minister of Ireland said the passage of a referendum paving the way for legalized abortions is a historic day for his country and a great act of democracy.

People from the "Yes" campaign react as the results of the votes begin to come in, after the Irish referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution at Dublin Castle, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, May 26, 2018.

"Wonderful, wonderful, today is wonderful!" said Eileen Shields, wearing a sticker reading "We made history".

As a result, Irish women would wished to terminate their pregnancies had to seek illegal options within the country - at the risk of being thrown in jail for 14 years - or travel overseas.

Abortion is now illegal in Ireland and has been since 1983 when an amendment was made requiring authorities to equally protect the right to life of a mother and that of a fetus, from the moment of conception.

The Irish have overwhelmingly voted for the liberalisation of the country's abortion law with the main group opposing the move conceding on Saturday that it has lost Friday's referendum by an overwhelming margin, The Irish Times reported.

More news: Real Madrid vs. Liverpool - Football Match Report

The outcome is the latest milestone on a path of change for a country which only legalised divorce by a razor-thin majority in 1995 before becoming the first in the world to adopt gay marriage by popular vote three years ago.

The vote saw citizens effectively opt to either retain or repeal the Eighth Amendment of the constitution, which prohibits terminations unless a mother's life is in danger.

Support came not only from major cities like Dublin but rural areas. Getting an illegal abortion within Ireland can lead to a life sentence in prison.

"For him (his son), it's a different Ireland that we're moving onto".

Savita's smilingimage on aposter was one of the prominent ones in the "Yes" campaign, with the words, "Savita Matters, Women Matter". "Today I believe we have voted for the next generation". "But those who voted No should take heart".

Ireland's government will be posed to consider legislation that would permit abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The campaign additionally noted that they would continue fighting for the right to life in Ireland, saying that "every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that, and make our voices known".

"We now have to hold the government to what they have said, that they want to see a situation where abortion will be rare", said leading anti-abortion campaigner Cora Sherlock.

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