P.E.I. woman hopes to help end Ireland's abortion ban


In the end, it wasn't even close.

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 Eighth Amendment to its constitution, passed in 1983, gave "the unborn" and mothers an equal right to life.

"For me, the result is just fantastic for all of Ireland and for all the women and men, and including the deaf community", according to another.

Yes campaigners hailed a "resounding" victory as Ireland voted overwhelmingly to change its restrictive abortion laws. Yet it's rare for priests and religious dictates to play much of a role in determining the views of ordinary people on abortion, same-sex marriage, divorce and other aspects of modern family life, said Mary McAuliffe, a sociologist at University College Dublin.

Speaking on Saturday in the wake of the referendum result, Varadkar said the vote marked "the day Ireland stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light". The day we came of age as a country.

While some countries have conditions such as requiring authorisation by one or more doctors in place, these are not always a barrier in practice, she said. To identify with the pro-abortion side shouldn't mean you must turn your back on your faith, and the broader population of Ireland won't decease being Catholic overnight as a result of new healthcare legislation.

Grainne Griffin, a co-director of Together for Yes, said the world had been watching the referendum campaign in Ireland.

"We've got justice for Savita", he told the Hindustan Times.

"Suddenly, Irish citizens had gone far ahead of where the country's laws were at on abortion", Doyle said. "What Irish voters did yesterday is a tragedy of historic proportions".

She congratulated the Irish people and the successful "Yes" campaign.

Some worshippers said the overwhelming victory of abortion rights activists seeking the repeal of the Eighth Amendment of the constitution reflects a weakening of the Catholic Church's historic influence and fills them with dread for Ireland's future. The P.M. says the vote was the culmination of a "quiet revolution".

Since 1983, around 170,000 Irish women have gone overseas for terminations.

"Overjoyed, overwhelmed", described one supporter. Cheers erupted every time partial results were shown on two big screens transmitting the latest television news.

When the final count was announced at Dublin Castle, more than 1,000 people were gathered outside singing, chanting and toasting each other with champagne despite an intermittent light rain.

They cheered when leaders of the "yes" campaign surfaced and they cheered for the prime minister when he arrived. Abortion in Ireland is illegal under almost all circumstances, including cases of rape and incest, and carries a potential prison sentence of up to 14 years.

If the public votes Yes, the Irish Government intends to legislate by the end of the year to make it relatively easy for a woman to obtain the procedure in early pregnancy.

"I'm especially grateful to the women of Ireland who came forward to provide their personal testimony about the hard times that they endured, the stress and the trauma that they experienced because of the Eighth Amendment", she said.

Fiona O'Brien, who moved to the Toronto area five years ago, said she followed some of the vote over Skype with her mother in Dublin and is "over the moon" with the result. When abortion becomes legal in the Republic of Ireland, it will become the only part of Britain and Ireland to ban the procedure. But the hospital refused to immediately remove it, fearing doctors could be prosecuted since the abortion law allowed terminating a pregnancy only if a woman's life is at risk. The British government legalized abortion in England in 1967 and the Scottish and Welsh assemblies later adopted similar laws.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath, who advocated for a No vote, said the support for repeal was not evident to him on the doorsteps during the campaign.

No matter what happens today hundreds of thousands of people will vote to retain the 8th and have NO major party to represent them.