“This is a historic and defining moment for human rights in Ireland.”
The Irish electorate is today on track to pass the referendum to repeal the eighth amendment to the Irish Constitution. The amendment, which was inserted in 1983, recognised the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child. It forced a situation where women with unwanted pregnancies travelled to the UK for abortions, or bought illegal abortion pills online, taking them unsupervised.
It has become clear early in the tally that the yes side has won by a strong margin with exit polls showing 69.4% voting Yes and 30.6% voting No.
Convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth, and former Chair of the National LGBT Federation (NXF), Ailbhe Smyth welcomed the decision of the Irish people, saying: “My heart is full to the brim with pride and overflowing with pride and relief for women, for men, for Ireland. We have done ourselves proud. Thank you, thank you.”
Current Chair of the NXF, Caroline Keane, said: “We are relieved and glad that the cruel eighth amendment has been lifted, which will allow Ireland to provide safer healthcare and support for women, trans and non-binary people when they most need help. Thank you to everyone who petitioned for REPEAL and those who courageously shared their stories. You helped to inform voters in a difficult, often abusive environment – we are another step towards a more compassionate, braver Ireland.”
Director of BeLonG To, Monnine Griffith, said: “This is a historic and defining moment for human rights in Ireland. Today’s result means that every pregnant person in Ireland can have access to the healthcare they need and will be treated with the dignity that they deserve. I am especially proud of all young people who registered to vote for this referendum and came out in their thousands to vote for a fairer more compassionate Ireland. Today we have once again proved what a progressive, caring country we are.”
The repeal of the Eighth Amendment will lead to legislation for abortion in Ireland up to 12 weeks, and up to six months in circumstances where the life of the unborn child is not viable, or the mother’s life is deemed to be at risk.
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