Ireland has had their say - a landslide Yes verdict to Repeal the Eighth amendment looks set to carry through. Here is what that means.
Early tallies are confirming exit poll predictions of a majority Yes vote. While the official announcement will not be made until later today, those on the pro-choice side are rejoicing the initial indicators of a historic vote.
Ailbhe Smyth of the Together For Yes campaign said, "This is a vote for dignity and decency. If exit polls are reflected in the official vote count later today, this will be a moment of profound change in Ireland’s social history, a moment when the nation collectively stood up for women and for their healthcare, and voted for constitutional change."
"What we have seen today is a culmination of a quiet revolution that's been taking place in Ireland " - Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pic.twitter.com/sPxnsVWEA7— RTÉ News (@rtenews) May 26, 2018
Vardkar told RTÉ the expected landslide for yes was the “culmination of a quiet revolution” and a process of change that had started over a number of decades. He added that the results show the country was not as plainly divided as originally anticipated.
“We will have a modern constitution for a modern country,” he concluded.
Health minister Simon Harris said he always knew Irish people were “decent and compassionate”. Harris said he will ask for formal cabinet approval as early as Tuesday, to turn the government's draft abortion law into a formal legislative text.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has outlined for the process under the new legislation.
- If a woman desires to end her pregnancy within the first 12 weeks, it will be her right to do so safely, and legally, in Ireland.
- Abortions would be relatively unrestricted - but still subject to consultation.
- Doctors will give women advice and alternative counseling on the matter.
- Abortions will only be performed after a crucial 72 hour waiting period.
- There will be no abortions after 12 weeks - except in instances where there is a risk to life of the mother or where the baby will not survive after birth. In these cases, two doctors must determine that a woman's life is threatened by the pregnancy or that there is a serious risk to her health.
- Language in the constitution would be replaced by the phrase, “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”
- Varadkar addressed those who feared that the system would become "too liberal" and abortion would become "too readily available" - this is not the case; Repeal is about giving women the right to choose what happens to their own bodies.