Irish travel from around world, including Boston, to overturn abortion ban

Ireland set to repeal abortion ban after historic referendum

Ireland's pro-life "Save The 8th" campaign has conceded defeat in the country's historic abortion referendum after exit polls reported a landslide win for those advocating liberalisation.

"I think what we've seen today really is the culmination of a quiet revolution that's taken place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years", Ireland's Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar said Saturday after the results were announced.

The Eighth Amendment, which states that an unborn child has the same right to life as a pregnant woman, now does not allow abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities.

May tweeted on Sunday to "congratulate the Irish people on their decision" but she made no mention of what the result would mean for Northern Ireland.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said Ireland's vote was a "hopeful" day for Northern Ireland. "This is about women taking their rightful place in Irish society, finally".

The next battleground is likely to be Ireland's parliament, where the government led by Varadkar hopes to capitalize on the fresh momentum and enact legislation spelling out the conditions under which abortions will be legal for the first time by the end of this year.

Despite the resounding victory of the yes vote, the No campaign's chief spokesman John McGuirk said they will continue to protest "if and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland".

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"I congratulate the Irish people on their decision and all of #Together4Yes on their successful campaign". The Eighth Amendment was passed in Ireland in 1983, with upwards of 67 percent voter-approval.

Ministers have promised to allow terminations within the first 12 weeks, subject to medical advice and a cooling-off period, and between 12 and 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.

One poll by national broadcaster RTE suggested around 70 per cent of the electorate have voted to end the country's all but blanket ban on terminations, with another, by The Irish Times, recording 68 per cent in favour of ditching the prohibition. A year later the law was amended to allow abortions in cases when a woman's life is at risk-but didn't allow the procedure in cases of rape or incest or fetal abnormality.

The referendum will likely end the need for thousands of Irish women to travel overseas - mostly to neighbouring Britain - for abortions they can't get at home.

The law on abortion is enshrined in the country's constitution, which can be changed only by referendum. "The legislation governing abortion is a devolved matter and it is for the Northern Ireland Assembly to debate and decide such issues".

But the laws changed in 1983 when the 8th Amendment was voted in. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percent. "Now more than ever it is time for the United Kingdom government to show the same respect for the women of Northern Ireland".

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