Celebs react to Ireland's abortion ban repeal

Irish anti-abortion campaign concedes it has lost referendum

Official counting began Saturday in Ireland's historic abortion rights referendum, with two exit polls predicting an overwhelming victory for those seeking to end the country's strict ban.

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

Adopted in 1983, the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland gives an unborn child the same right to life as their mother, effectively outlawing abortions except in instances where pregnancy would pose "a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother".

When the final count was announced at Dublin Castle, more than 1,000 people gathered outside sang, chanted and toasted each other with champagne.

He said the referendum result marked "the day Ireland stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light".

If the projected numbers hold up, the referendum would be a landmark in Irish women's fight for abortion rights.

Anne Milton, an education minister, on Sunday urged the prime minister to allow a free vote in Britain's parliament and said she thought there would be "a significant majority" in favour of liberalising the abortion laws.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone said she felt emotional and expressed deep gratitude to voters.

One of Ireland's leading anti-abortion groups says the abortion referendum result is a "tragedy of historic proportions" in a statement that all but admits defeat in the historic vote.

Despite the resounding victory of the yes vote, the No campaign's chief spokesman John McGuirk said they will continue to protest "if and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland". Mr. O'Halloran said he believed that a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility that Irish people feel for visitors and newcomers weighed heavily on the conscience of the nation.

"It is a landslide opinion in favour of repeal of the abortion laws that has supported our cause", Savita's father Andanappa Yalagi told PTI.

The proposed legislation that will be introduced by the Government will allow abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The Irish Times newspaper predicted 68 percent of voters cast ballots to change the law in an exit poll published earlier.

People celebrate the result of yesterday's referendum on liberalizing abortion law, in Dublin, Ireland, May 26, 2018.

Northern Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe with even rape and fatal foetal abnormality not considered legal grounds for a termination.

It indicates about 72 percent of women voted "yes" along with about 66 percent of men.

Abortion had been illegal in Ireland since at least 1861 when the British authorities instated a ban on the procedure.

"The position in Northern Ireland is now highly anomalous and I think, probably, action will now have to be taken", Cable said.

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