Irish abortion referendum: No campaign concede defeat

Clay Curtis
May 26, 2018

While early polls suggested the Yes campaign would win, the landslide victory has surprised some commentators in a country known for its strong conservative Catholic roots.

Voters in Ireland headed to the polls on Friday to decide whether the country should repeal its restrictive abortion laws.

The specific question people were asked was whether they wanted to see the Eighth Amendment replaced with wording in the constitution that would hand politicians the responsibility to set future laws on abortion, unhindered by constitutional strictures.

If a majority votes in faVour of Eighth Amendment, Ireland's abortion laws will stay the same.

Voters went to the polls after a campaign that aroused deep emotions on both sides. For opponents, it would be a betrayal of Ireland's commitment to protect the unborn.

The hundreds of notes showed overwhelming support for repeal - but foreign visitors can't vote, so the display does not offer much guidance on what the actual results will be.

A poll by the Irish Times suggest a victory for "yes" by a margin of 68 percent to 32 percent, according to a random sample of 4000 voters. "I'm very emotional about this", she said, outside a polling station opposite Dublin's cathedral. The "X" case in 1992 involved a teenager who had been raped, who made a decision to travel to the U.K.to obtain an abortion - and found herself being stopped by the Attorney General from leaving the country. Her death shook people in Ireland, men and women alike, up for widespread protests.

Vera Rooney cast her ballot at the same polling place.

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"I've followed it a lot and feel that it's important to have a say", Mr Gaultier said. "I've a family myself and I think it's really important", said John Devlin, a marketing worker in his 50s voting "No" near Dublin's city center.

The contested amendment requires authorities to equally protect the right to life of a mother and that of a fetus, from the moment of conception.

Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has said almost 200,000 women have traveled to Britain to terminate pregnancies in the 35 years since the amendment was passed. It would also likely end the need for thousands of Irish women to travel overseas - mostly to neighbouring Britain - for abortions. If the 8th is repealed, it would allow for abortion without restrictions up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

Most European countries allow abortion on request up to 12 weeks.

Thousands of Irish people overseas travelled home to take part in the historic referendum, and supporters of repeal gathered at Dublin Airport to give arrivals an ecstatic welcome.

Now some stars are using their voices to try to create political change around the globe, with Courteney Cox, Emma Watson, Chelsea Handler and more supporting a referendum up for vote on Friday in Ireland to legalize abortion. She flew home from Vancouver to vote Yes in the national referendum. Numerous anti-abortion signs showed photographs of foetuses.

Activists react at the count centre as votes are tallied folowing yesterday's referendum on liberalizing abortion law, in Dublin, Ireland, May 26, 2018. Thirty-two percent of voters opposed the repeal.

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