Macron: Ireland makes history with abortion vote

Volunteers from Reproductive rights against Oppression Sexism & Austerity on O'Connell Street in Dublin

The referendum, which is slated for Friday, will decide the fate of Ireland's Eighth Amendment outlawing almost all forms of abortion.

The government hopes the new abortion regime will become law by the end of the year.

Final results showed that 66.4% of voters backed reform, with 33.6% against.

Specifically, Democrats could mobilize voters around repealing the Hyde Amendment, which bars any federal funding for abortion except in extremely specific cases, like to save the life of the mother.

Abortions approved by doctors are allowed in the rest of Britain until the 24th week of pregnancy, but not in Northern Ireland, where the procedure is limited to cases when a woman's life is at risk.

The move, as well as the abortion debate at large has made the population even more divided, with politicians, the social media community, and especially parents of children with Down's syndrome increasingly voicing their outrage. That has resulted in many women every day going overseas for terminations. Dublin Central posted 76.5 percent for repeal, while two constituencies in the southern capital of Cork City polled 64 percent and nearly 69 percent.

The Prime Minister had already faced calls from MPs across the Commons - including within her own Cabinet - to resolve the "anomalous" situation in Northern Ireland following the overwhelming referendum result in Ireland in favour of liberalisation. From morning, however, it has seemed clear that overnight predictions of a massive vote for constitutional change were accurate. Her parents in India were quoted by the Irish Times newspaper as thanking their "brothers and sisters" in Ireland and requesting the new law be called "Savita's law".

The "Yes" camp says that women should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has praised the apparent victory in the abortion referendum as "the culmination of a quiet revolution" that has been unfolding in the past 10 to 20 years.

This was the day that the Irish people said "no more", Varadkar said after the results were announced outside Dublin Castle, a government complex where supporters of the "yes" vote gathered to celebrate. And we say that we trust women and we respect women and their decisions.

"The wrenching pain of decades of mistreatment of Irish women can not be unlived", Varadkar, who backed repeal, said. "All of us have underestimated our country", she said before breaking down in tears.

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In practice, it meant Irish women had to travel overseas for terminations.

Ireland has been traditionally considered the most Catholic country in the world, where the lion's share of the population attend church services, and where divorce, contraception and abortion have been strictly forbidden. A leading anti-abortion group admitted defeat Saturday.

Sunday newspapers hailed the vote as bringing a new day to Ireland.

"I'm afraid if it's very close, every vote will count so that's why I want to go", FitzGerald said. "Not an Eighth Amendment issue".

The Catholic Church believes the life of the unborn is sacrosanct, that it would be immoral to allow its termination through abortion, but advocates greater support for those in crisis.

Initially, polls showed a strong lead for the repeal campaign, but as polling day approaches, that lead has narrowed. Officials results are expected Saturday afternoon.

"I don't think you'll find many people on our side of the referendum who don't accept the result".

There have been five previous votes on repealing the Eighth Amendment, all of which failed. Prior to that, many of Ireland's laws were retained from the United Kingdom, including a law that criminalized abortion.

"There is no prospect of the legislation not being passed", he says. Currently, women who are impregnated through rape or incest can not terminate a pregnancy.

Online, the argument is just as charged and more shadowy, as unregulated ads of uncertain origin battle to sway voters before tomorrow's referendum, which could give Irish women the right to end their pregnancies for the first time.

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