Ireland referendum could lift strict ban on abortion

Ireland referendum could lift strict ban on abortion

"It's been over 30 years since the Morgentaler decision, which ensured that a woman's right to security included access to abortions". He said, "I'm a staunch No".

Ms Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian-origin dentist, had sought a pregnancy termination when told she was miscarrying, but the request was turned down due to Ireland's then strict anti-abortion laws.

Irish voters are getting the chance to decide whether or not the nation should repeal the Eighth Amendment - an amendment to the Irish Constitution which upholds the right to life of unborn children. "No doubt many people voted for repeal based on the Taoiseach's promises in this regard" she added.

However, Fortin says a lot of people just assume that that right is "now ensconced", and that access is easy for everyone.

The amendment requires authorities to equally protect the right to life of a mother and that of a fetus, from the moment of conception.

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".

The ban has led to thousands of women travelling each year to neighbouring Britain, where terminations are legal, or increasingly turning to abortion pills sold online.

Ireland's government has said that if the "yes" side wins, it plans to introduce legislation allowing abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. That effectively bans all abortions in Ireland, except in cases when the woman's life is at risk.

A bitter campaign has dominated public debate in Ireland over recent months as almost 3.5 million voters are asked whether they want to overturn a constitutional ban on abortion.

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Thousands of Irish people overseas travelled home to take part in the historic referendum, and supporters of repeal gathered at Dublin Airport to give arrivals an ecstatic welcome.

So the Irish people were asked if they wanted to remove the Eighth Amendment and allow politicians to set the country's abortion laws in the future.

But pro-abortion campaigners complained that the change made no reference to the impact on a woman's health (as distinct from her life), that doctors were still able to opt out from providing abortions on conscience grounds, and that it provided no solution for women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest or had a foetus with fatal genetic abnormalities. I'm one of the lucky ones.

Campaigning was not allowed on Friday, but Dublin was still filled with signs and banners urging citizens to vote "yes" or "no".

Ballot boxes will open at 9am and the official count will begin.

Colm O'Gorman, the head of Amnesty International in Ireland, which campaigned for the yes vote, said, while the expectations had been that Saturday's count would be close, attitude surveys it had conducted in 2015 had shown deep changes in thinking on abortion.

Letters to the editor published on Friday in the Irish Independent newspaper contained several emotional arguments urging voters to reject the repeal movement.

"I want to ensure that the RSE curriculum meets the needs of young people today, who face a range of different issues to those faced by young people in the late 1990s".

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