EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Ireland overturns abortion ban in landslide vote

IRELAND: Ireland voted by a landslide to ditch its strict abortion laws in a landmark referendum that Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said had finally lifted decades of stigma and shame.


By AFP

Sunday 27 May 2018, 10:28AM


Abortion referendum campaign poster in Dublin, May 2018. Photo: Sonse / Wikimedia Commons

Abortion referendum campaign poster in Dublin, May 2018. Photo: Sonse / Wikimedia Commons

More than 66 percent of voters in what has been a traditionally staunchly Catholic country backed repealing the constitutional ban on terminations, triggering scenes of tearful jubilation in Dublin on Saturday after a divisive and often emotional campaign.

Hugging, celebrating, singing and cheering wildly, thousands crammed into the courtyard of Dublin Castle, where the official result was declared, chanting "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

"Wonderful, wonderful, today is wonderful!" said 65-year-old Eileen Shields, who had been ostracised for falling pregnant outside of marriage when she was 18.

The crowds cheered and popped champagne corks as the result was announced. Women and men wearing "Repeal" tops and "Yes" badges waved Irish flags and placards reading "Thank you", with love hearts on.

Speaking through tears, Stasia Clancy, 64, said: "This is like an explosion of the repression and the suppression of the last 100 years."

At Dublin's RDS count centre, 40-year-old nurse Ruth Bowie wept at the results.

She told AFP: "I had to leave my country to get the healthcare that I needed when I was told that my baby wouldn't survive outside the womb and I've told my story over and over again just in the hope that this day would come -- and it's finally come."

'Veil of stigma lifted'

The final results of Friday's referendum showed 66.4 percent voted for removing the constitutional ban, while 33.6 voted against.

Some 1,429,981 votes were cast for Yes. The turnout was 64 percent.

Among the 40 constituencies, the pro-choice vote peaked at 78 percent in Dublin Bay South, while rural Donegal was the only one to vote against liberalising abortion, by 52 percent.

"A quiet revolution has taken place," Varadkar said in a speech at Dublin Castle.

"No more stigma. The veil of secrecy is lifted. No more isolation. The burden of shame is gone."

He said Saturday would be remembered as the day Ireland "stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light. The day we came of age as a country."

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

Varadkar said he wanted the law in force by the end of the year and Health Minister Simon Harris told AFP that the cabinet would meet on Tuesday to approve the drafting of legislation.

Crumbling church influence

The result is another hammer blow to the Roman Catholic Church's authority in Ireland, coming three years after referendum voters backed legalising same-sex marriage by 62 percent.

The Church's influence has crumbled in recent years due to a series of child sex abuse scandals.

The referendum comes three months before Pope Francis visits Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.

An exit poll for The Irish Times newspaper suggested 70 percent of women and 65 percent of men voted to overturn the ban.

People over 65 voted 60 percent against. However, all other age groups backed the proposal, with support at 87 percent among voters aged 18 to 24.

Ailbhe Smyth, 71, co-director of the official Together for Yes campaign, said real-life testimonies from women affected by the ban had helped swing the vote.

"The stories, the experiences, women's voices, women's and couples, it was a central part of our strategy," she told reporters.

The Love Both official pro-life campaign said regardless of the result, "our work will continue to protect unborn babies and their mothers".

"Our campaign does not end with the referendum, but when the government properly supports the mother and child," it said.

Abortion is still banned in some 20 countries worldwide, while others have highly restrictive laws in place. In the European Union, predominantly Catholic Malta is the only country with a total ban.

'The North is next'

Ireland introduced a constitutional ban on abortion following a 1983 referendum. Terminating a pregnancy carries a 14-year maximum jail term.

The law was tweaked in 2013 to allow terminations if the mother's life is at risk.

The ban has led to thousands of women travelling each year to neighbouring Britain, where terminations are legal, or increasingly turning to abortion pills sold online.

Since 1983, around 170,000 Irish women have gone abroad for terminations.

In the UK, abortion is legal on the British mainland, but remains outlawed in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein's party leaders from both sides of the border held up a placard at Dublin Castle reading: "The North is next".

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket Town ‘unofficial parking crew’ cleared by police to collect ‘tips’

Take a look in Rawai to 20 Bath for parkingin the public street close the pir. ...(Read More)


Force India saved from liquidation

A bigger story would be a pass made on the track among any of the top 5 during a race. The cars a...(Read More)


Anger grows in Italy as bridge toll hits 39

It’s more news about this sad accident in Thai news It was about the boat accident that killed 47 ...(Read More)


Mothers will ‘never forgive’ Phuket bar owner for murders

It is a well-know, documented fact, that there are many "agencies" requesting and receivin...(Read More)


Mothers will ‘never forgive’ Phuket bar owner for murders

I Wonder whay Panya don’t be in the jail, this killer have kill one man in patong allready. ...(Read More)


Wildlife officials arrest slow loris tout off Phuket

Well, obviously, if you keep him in jail more Slow Loris won't be ripped out of the wild, have t...(Read More)


Wildlife officials arrest slow loris tout off Phuket

Why it must be a tourist reporting this. Why are thai people not reporting to police? Specially beca...(Read More)


Body found floating off Kata Beach

The headline should not be about body found floating...the truth is that another person died due to ...(Read More)


Water shut-offs announced for Wichit on Aug 16

No difference shut off or not. Need to order truck to bring water because not enough water in pipe...(Read More)


Phoenix tour boat owner to fight charges, renounces confession

Don't worry about it...all the correct people have been paid off and justice has been done. ...(Read More)