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.

Read More: "EVERYTHING has changed" - Irish people react to historic landslide voting in favor of Repeal the Eighth 

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."

The contentious Eighth Amendment was voted into the Irish constitution in 1983, effectively banning termination. The shift towards Repealing the Eighth Amendment heralds a seismic shift in attitudes towards women's bodily autonomy and ushers in a new era of abortion legislation.
So, what does the change to Irish abortion legislation mean? 
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he hopes laws to allow abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy would be in place in Ireland by the end of the year.

"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.

"Instead of saying take the boat, we’re now saying take our hand and we will look after you." Minister for Health Simon Harris @SimonHarrisTD speaking on RTÉ radio. pic.twitter.com/gLpJIE0t3T

— RTÉ Politics (@rtepolitics) May 26, 2018

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.

When asked to address those on the Pro-Life/No side, Taoiseach Varadkar said today,
"For people who voted no, we absolutely respect their views and respect their reasons for voting no. I know some people who voted no today will think the country has taken a wrong turn. What I want to say to them, is that this is the same country that is was last week - just a little bit more kinder, a little bit more tolerant, and a little bit more open."

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