Senior Tory women demand Theresa May change abortion law in Northern Ireland

Geraldine Edwards
May 27, 2018

The current running tally on referendum results from Ireland shows more than 1.3 million votes in favor of repealing the country's constitutional ban on abortions and roughly 650,000 opposed.

Final results showed more than 66 percent of voters in what has been a traditionally staunchly Catholic country backed repealing the constitutional ban on terminations.

All but one of Ireland's 40 constituencies voted "Yes" and contributed to the 66 percent that carried the proposal, nearly an exact reversal of the 1983 referendum result that inserted the ban into the constitution. As a result, thousands of Irish women make the trip overseas, often to England, to have an abortion.

"What we see is the culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland over the last couple of decades", said Varadkar, who became the country's first openly gay prime minister past year.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has criticized the law. They revealed "women's right to choose" as the top influencing factor for voters followed by "risk to health or life".

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Varadkar said on Saturday that he planned to implement a new abortion law by the end of the year.

Ireland has voted to repeal its ban on abortion.

The results of the vote led to an outpouring of emotion from the crowd of protestors, with many chanting the "Savita, Savita", in reference to dentist Savita Halappanavar, 31, whose tragic death in 2012 sparked worldwide outrage.

On Friday, voters in Ireland took to the polling stations to cast their ballots on whether the country should repeal the eighth amendment of its constitution, which effectively bans abortions. The Save The Eighth campaign said yesterday: "What Irish voters did is a tragedy of historic proportions". Varadkar said he hoped the law to allow abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy would be in place by the end of the year.

Jim Wells, a member of the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party that props up May's minority government, said the outcome in the south was "an extremely worrying development for the protection of the unborn child in Northern Ireland".

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An exit poll for The Irish Times newspaper suggested 70 percent of women and 65 percent of men voted to overturn the ban.

"Under the Eighth Amendment, the only thing we could say to women was take a flight or take a boat and now the country is saying no, take our hand, we want to support you", Mr Harris said.

The vote is a "rejection of an Ireland that treated women as second-class citizens", she said, adding: "This is about women's equality and this day brings massive change, monumental change for women in Ireland, and there is no going back". "I think we, as legislators, need to move forward and legislate for healthcare for women and we need to do it as soon as possible".

In response to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calling for abortion to be taken out of the Crimes Act a year ago, spokesman Ken Orr said "she wrongly believes that the killing of our unborn children should not be a crime and that this killing should be a core health service".

The country has had one of Europe's most restrictive abortion laws, which is enshrined in its constitution.

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The "Save The 8th" campaign's spokesman John McGuirk said the people of Ireland had "weighed it in the balance and it came down on one side", the Independent reported.

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