Ireland's pro-life campaign concedes defeat in abortion referendum

A woman places flowers by a mural showing Savita Halappanavar a 31-year-old Indian dentist who had sought and been denied an abortion before she died after a miscarriage in a Galway hospital with the word YES over it in Dublin Ireland on the day of

An exit poll released by Ireland's national broadcaster RTE after polling stations closed predicted that 69.4 per cent voted in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment and 30.6 per cent "no".

"There is no prospect of the legislation not being passed", he says.

"Democracy in action. It's looking like we will make history", Varadkar wrote on Twitter following a divisive and often emotional campaign.

Sweeney will be in the air flying back to Canada Saturday while the results are coming in.

"The public have spoken".

In 2017, the Citizens' Assembly, a body set up advise the Irish government on constitutional change, voted to replace or amend the part of Ireland's Constitution which strictly limits the availability of abortion.

Ireland legalized divorce by a razor-thin majority only in 1995, but became the first country to adopt gay marriage by popular vote in a 2015 referendum.

"For him (his son), it's a different Ireland that we're moving onto". The jail term for abortions in Ireland is imprisonment of up to 14 years.

Polls earlier this week showed a slim majority favoring repeal of the abortion ban, but the referendum is expected to come down to the wire.

Voters are choosing between retaining the Eighth Amendment, which says an unborn child has an equal right to life as the mother, or replacing it to include provision for "the regulation of termination of pregnancy". That effectively bans all abortions in Ireland, except in cases when the woman's life is at risk. The build-up has seen heated campaigning in the Catholic country.

Support for reform was so widespread that the No campaign conceded defeat several hours before the referendum count was finished.

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Now some stars are using their voices to try to create political change around the globe, with Courteney Cox, Emma Watson, Chelsea Handler and more supporting a referendum up for vote on Friday in Ireland to legalize abortion.

Ireland, like the United States, has very different patterns of voting in urban areas and in the countryside.

Anti-abortion activists on the "No" side said the Eighth Amendment had saved thousands of lives and focused in particular on preventing the abortion of fetuses with genetic abnormalities.

Savita's smilingimage on aposter was one of the prominent ones in the "Yes" campaign, with the words, "Savita Matters, Women Matter".

A poll conducted on Friday by Ipsos/MRBI for the Times as voting commenced suggests that as much as 68 percent of voters chose to support the referendum overturning the ban, compared to just 32 percent who voted to keep the practiced banned.

"Every politican advocated for a yes [vote]", McMorrow said.

Repealing the Eighth Amendment was a decades-long goal of the abortion movement.

After that, abortions will only be allowed until the 24th week of pregnancy if there is a risk to a woman's life, or a risk of serious harm to the physical or mental health of a woman.

Although not on the ballot paper, the "No" camp has seized on government plans to allow abortions with no restriction up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy if the referendum is carried, calling it a human rights issue and a step too far for most voters.

Varadkar said he planned to have a new abortion law enacted by the end of the year, adding that the approval of the referendum was a "culmination of a quiet revolution" in Ireland.

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