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Ireland overwhelmingly votes to overturn abortion ban, reject unborn's right to life

Ireland overwhelmingly voted to legalize abortion on Friday. (ARTUR WIDAK/AFP/Getty Images)

It's now official: Ireland has overwhelmingly voted to overturn its abortion ban.

It was widely predicted, given exit polling data, the vote to reject the unborn's right to life would be a landslide — and it was. However, the numbers were not as large as predicted.

What are the details?

Irish media outlets reported, citing exit polling data, that 68-70 percent would vote to repeal the country's Eighth Amendment, a 1983 law that legally declared unborn babies have a right to life, and a law declaring abortion illegal.

  • A whopping 66.4 percent of the Irish voted to repeal the Eighth and legalize abortion, while just 33.6 percent voted against it.
  • The vote saw a record turnout of 64.5 percent, according to the Guardian.
  • Dublin, Ireland's capital, and the surrounding areas held the biggest concentration of voters for abortion. In fact, more than 70 percent of Dublin voted to legalize abortion.
  • Only one Irish voting district voted against the repeal, and even there it was close: 52 percent to 48 percent.

Friday's numbers are almost an exact reversal of the 1983 vote to bar abortion and honor the unborn's right to life. During that vote, about two-thirds of Ireland voted against abortion, while just one-third voted in-favor of it.

What happens next?

Irish citizens wishing to obtain an abortion will not be able to do it today and for at least the next several days. However, the country's legislature is predicted to quickly change that.

According to the Guardian, lawmakers will soon bring legislation allowing all abortions up to the 12th week of pregnancy with a three-day waiting period prior to the operation. The Guardian reported:

Between 12 and 24 weeks, abortion will be available only in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, a risk to a woman’s life or a risk of serious harm to the health of the mother. After 24 weeks, termination will be possible in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

There will be provision for conscientious objection among medical practitioners, although doctors will be obliged to transfer care of the pregnant woman to another doctor.

After Ireland's historic vote, only one country in European remains with a complete ban on abortion: Malta.

However, Poland and Cyrus severely limit the operation to "grave risk to the health of the mother, fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest," according to the Guardian.

One last thing…
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