Irish turn attention to parliament as abortion ban voted out

McDermott described one case in which a mother whose life was in danger first had to follow a complex procedure involving hospital lawyers and other medical experts before obtaining abortion pills.

The topic is considered one of the most divisive and hard subjects in public life, and has prompted posters with graphic post-abortion scenes on the streets of Dublin, erected by the No camp.

If citizens vote in favor of repeal, new abortion laws will then be discussed in parliament. Others sang songs in the sunshine outside the main Dublin results center as they awaited the official result.

On Sunday, Ms O'Neill said the referendum result showed there was a "real appetite for change on the island of Ireland". From morning, however, it has seemed clear that overnight predictions of a massive vote for constitutional change were accurate. Savita's parents in Belagavi, decided not to go to Ireland, in spite of the many calls they got.

Adding to the public conscience were a rising number of distressing stories about women unable to get an abortion.

Kaposy, whose words are in line with the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, said that he is opposed to the use of people with disabilities in a bid to curb reproductive rights. "And we say that we trust women and respect women to make their own decisions and their own choices".

He said he was troubled by the way the "yes" campaign used the case of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist who died of sepsis during a prolonged miscarriage after being denied an abortion in Galway in 2012, to drum up support for repeal. He said that majority reigned among both men and women, nearly all age groups and social classes, and perhaps every constituency in the country.

In practice, it meant Irish women had to travel overseas for terminations.

Ireland introduced a constitutional ban on abortion following a 1983 referendum. A leading anti-abortion group admitted defeat Saturday.

Mr Varadkar, who had campaigned for the Eighth Amendment to be repealed, said: "Today is an historic day for Ireland".

Dr Andrew O'Regan said abortion meant ending the life of a patient
Image Dr Andrew O'Regan says abortion means ending the life of a patient

Ireland's referendum Friday represented more than a vote on whether to end the country's strict abortion ban. Advocates for the "no" side have even secured the web address hometovote.uk, where they encourage visitors to defend the Eighth Amendment.

In 2013, legislation was amended to allow terminations under certain tightly restricted circumstances - the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.

Initially, polls showed a strong lead for the repeal campaign, but as polling day approaches, that lead has narrowed.

Several people refuse to talk about their vote at all - who are you to ask me about it? - heard in the click of the door closing. In the end, 39 voted for repeal.

More than two thirds of voters backed the decision to change the law in every constituency in the Republic of Ireland, with the exception of Donegal.

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

Under pressure from the United Nations about alleged degrading treatment of women who travelled to England for terminations, the Irish Government began exploring the possibility of further reform, culminating in the calling of this referendum and the promise to legislate.

"It does feel anomalous and we are offering abortions for women from Northern Ireland (in England), that doesn't feel quite right".

"I'm confident that the Irish people will reject this extreme proposal, and force the government to come up with a better plan than abortion for healthy mothers with healthy babies", Katie Ascough, 21, a Love Both campaign spokeswoman, told AFP. Paper ballots must be counted and tallied.

The hashtag #hometovote was one of the top trending issues on Twitter on Wednesday, as it was three years ago when Ireland became the first country in the world to adopt gay marriage by popular vote.

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  • Sonia Alvarado