Irish overwhelmingly vote to legalise abortion, exit poll suggests

Ireland overwhelmingly backs changing abortion laws exit poll says

"The Eighth Amendment to our Constitution gives protection to the most vulnerable and voiceless members of our society", the letter added.

This law was put on test yesterday in a referendum to decide whether to repeal Ireland's Eighth Amendment and change its current abortion laws. But in 2012, a woman named Savita Halappanavar died in an Irish hospital after she was denied an abortion. It would then fall to Parliament to establish new laws governing abortions.

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.

The Save The 8th campaign described the result as a "tragedy of historic proportions".

Happalanavar's face has become the symbol of the "Yes" campaign to end the abortion ban.

The referendum is one of the most anticipated, and controversial, in the heavily Catholic nation's history, as it could roll back rules that now only allow abortion in the case of a woman's life being at risk, but not for rape, incest or fatal fetal abnormality.

Exit polls indicate that the highest Yes vote was in Dublin, with 77 percent.

The majority of Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin's party opposed repealing the Eighth Amendment and the introduction of unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Buffon to quit Juventus, apologises to referee Oliver
However, the 2006 World Cup victor , close to tears at times, did not say whether he was retiring from the sport altogether. His farewell at worldwide level might come on June 4, when Italy hosts a friendly against the Netherlands in Turin .

In January after his cabinet agreed to hold the referendum, Varadkar said, "I do not believe that the Constitution is the place for making absolute statements about medical, moral, and legal issues".

Those away for less than 18 months remain eligible to vote at their former local polling station.

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.

Deputy prime minister of Ireland, Tanaiste Simon Coveney, said in response to the preliminary polling, "Thank you to everybody who voted today - democracy can be so powerful on days like today - looks like a stunning result that will bring about a fundamental change for the better".

If the results are confirmed, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will now likely introduce legislation to allow abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and further in cases where the mother's life is at risk.

Friday's vote came three years after the country legalized gay marriage, which marked another big shift from traditional Irish-Catholic values. Turnout was over 70 per cent in some areas, RTE said.

The Irish Times and RTE television exit polls suggest the Irish people have voted overwhelmingly to repeal a 1983 constitutional amendment that requires authorities to treat a fetus and its mother as equals under the law.

A subsequent referendum made it legal for women to travel to have abortions, and for information about abortions to be provided (previous to this, ads for abortion providers had been cut out of the pages of United Kingdom women's magazines that were imported into Ireland) but the ban on abortion was not rolled back.

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