Monday, 24 September, 2018

After historic vote, Ireland poised to end abortion ban

People attend a People Before Profit protest calling of for provision of Abortion in Northern Ireland at Belfast City Hall Image There are calls for changes to the abortion laws in Northern Ireland
Gerardo Duncan | 28 May, 2018, 17:10

Like many Irish expatriates who returned home to vote, Coogan says she was motivated by a desire to, in her words, "create a better Ireland for our generation should we want to return, but (also) for the generations that are going to follow us".

The Republic of Ireland voted on Friday to repeal part of its constitution that effectively outlawed abortion.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar called the result the culmination of a "quiet revolution".

Once passed, women in Ireland will be able to obtain first-trimester abortions in Irish hospitals. "This is about women taking their rightful place in Irish society, finally".

May's minority Conservative government relies on support from MPs from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party for a majority in the British parliament - and the Protestant DUP strongly opposes abortion law reform.

Meanwhile, the Irish Consul-General to New Zealand said she believed Irish politicians of all parties would now unite behind changes to the abortion laws.

People celebrate the official result of the Irish abortion referendum at Dublin Castle in Dublin on May 26, 2018, which showed a landslide decision in favor of repealing the constitutional ban on abortions.

"A vote for the freedom to choose, a vote for women's rights, a vote for women's control over their bodies, a vote for women's health & safety, a vote towards equality", she proudly said.

"For him, it's a different Ireland that we're moving onto", said Colm O'Riain, a 44-year-old teacher referring to his son Ruarai, born 14 weeks premature in November who was in his arms. "That would be wrong".

DUP party chairman Lord Morrow
Image DUP chairman Lord Morrow has warned of 'consequences'

That change will soon leave Northern Ireland, already out of step with Great Britain, as the only part of either the United Kingdom or Ireland where abortion is illegal unless there is a serious risk to a woman's life or health. 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.

A spokeswoman for May said on Sunday changing the rules should only be undertaken by a government in Northern Ireland, which has been without a devolved executive since January previous year after a power-sharing agreement collapsed.

"This has been a great exercise in democracy, and the people have spoken", Varadkar said. At the same time, it's still the Northern Ireland assembly, the legislative change still lies with them. She died on October 28 and her dead resulted in a massive uproar - nationally as well as internationally and it led to a movement to repeal the eighth amendment which prohibited abortion.

The law on abortion is enshrined in the country's constitution, which can be changed only by referendum.

His government proposes allowing abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and between 12 and 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.

The magnitude of the predicted victory exceeded the expectations of abortion rights activists.

"No more doctors telling their patients there is nothing that can be done for them in their own country".

The RTE exit poll of 3,779 voters predicts support for the "yes" vote in urban areas to be about 72 percent, with rural support at about 63 percent.

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