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​Ireland Votes In Favour Of Overturning Abortion Ban

Jess Hardiman

| Last updated 

​Ireland Votes In Favour Of Overturning Abortion Ban

Ireland has voted in favour of overturning the country's strict abortion ban, following a historic referendum yesterday.

The totals in the end were: Yes: 1,429,981 and No: 723,632

Meaning a majority of 706,349 for Yes.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who had campaigned in favour of liberalisation, praised the country's 'quiet revolution'.

"The people have spoken. They have said we need a modern constitution for a modern country," he said.

"What we've seen is the culmination of a quiet revolution that's been taking place in Ireland over the past 20 years."


Varadkar said that Irish voters 'trust and respect women to make the right choices and decisions about their own health care'.

Abortion was first banned in Ireland back in 1861 by the Offences Against the Person act, and the ban remained in place after Irish independence.

The Eighth Amendment to the Republic's constitution was then introduced in 1983 following a referendum. It acknowledged that 'the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right'.

Since then, various anti-abortion and pro-choice groups have campaigned for the Eighth Amendment to be repealed.

In 2012, an Indian woman called Savita Halappanavar died in a Galway hospital after being refused an abortion.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Shortly after her death, her husband Praveen said that Savita was 'on top of the world' before she began experiencing difficulties.

"It was her first baby, first pregnancy and you know she was on top of the world basically," he told the BBC.

"She was so happy and everything was going well, she was so excited.

"On the Saturday night everything changed, she started experiencing back pain so we called into the hospital, the university hospital."

Praveen explained that his wife had continued to experience pain, and asked to be induced.

"They said unfortunately she can't because it's a Catholic country," Mr Halappanavar said.

"Savita said to her she is not Catholic, she is Hindu, and why impose the law on her.

"But she said 'I'm sorry, unfortunately it's a Catholic country' and it's the law that they can't abort when the foetus is live."

When asked by the BBC if he felt his wife would still be alive if the termination had been allowed at the time, Praveen said: "Of course, no doubt about it."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Ireland, News, abortion

Jess Hardiman
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