Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Ireland Repeals Anti-Abortion Amendment in Landmark Vote for Reproductive Justice

Ireland Repeals Anti-Abortion Amendment in Landmark Vote for Reproductive Justice

In one case in 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee said that Ireland's abortion ban had subjected a woman to "suffering and discrimination" after she was forced to choose between continuing a non-viable pregnancy or travelling overseas for an abortion. The referendum saw 64.1% voters turnout out of which 66.4% voted yes.

Andanappa Yalagi read from a one-page letter as his wife Mahadevi sat on a sofa beside him with a photo of Savita, who had moved with her husband Praveen to Ireland in 2008.

Sarah Wollaston, the chair of the health select committee and a lawmaker in May's party, said she would support the proposed amendment and said Northern Ireland should at least be given a vote to decide.

"This has been a great exercise in democracy, and the people have spoken", Varadkar said.

Diarmuid Martin, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, said the Church could not compromise its position on abortion. "It's hard for the church to have credibility".

Recent census figures show a small decline in the number of Catholics in Ireland, but it remains by far the dominant religion.

Although Irish women have been unhappy with the amendment since it was first introduced, it would take almost 25 years for it to be overturned.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said Ireland's vote was a "hopeful" day for Northern Ireland.

"I think Theresa May, really as a self-identifying feminist, needs to say: "Yes, I unveil statues of suffragists in Parliament Square, but the test of my feminism will be whether I guarantee fundamental human rights for women". "That was a sepsis issue that was mishandled".

Jim Wells, a member of Northern Ireland's socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party, said that after the vote Northern Ireland and Malta were the only parts of Europe where the unborn child was properly protected. Saturday's vote inserts a clause into the constitution which now allows legislators to put forward new laws on abortion.

Newspapers reflected on the historic vote.

"It isn't the job - and it would be very, very unsafe - for British politicians to be seen to be telling people in Northern Ireland how to vote", he told BBC's Sunday Politics. It would also likely end the need for thousands of Irish women to travel overseas - mostly to neighboring Britain - for abortions they can't get at home.

Many gathered at the Savita Halappanavar mural as the results of the vote were counted. More than two-thirds of voters said "yes" to repealing Ireland's 8th Amendment, the seismic equivalent of a red state turning blue.

"To be Irish now means to be open", he said.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who was in favor of the repeal, hailed it as the result of "a quiet revolution", and said voters demonstrated that they "trust and respect women to make the right choices and decisions about their own health care".

"The day we came of age as a country".

"We're really a tiny place, there's not that many of us and we can only shout loud now".

The decisive outcome of the landmark referendum was cast as a historic victory for women's rights. Exit polls indicated that the repeal was endorsed in urban and rural areas alike, with strong support from both men and women.

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