Ireland votes to legalise abortion in landslide ‘Yes’ victory: exit polls

   IRELAND ABORTION The people over spoken and overturned the strict laws

REUTERS IRELAND ABORTION The people over spoken and overturned the strict laws

If the amendment is repealed, Irish women will be able to access abortions in their home nation without having to travel elsewhere.

Support for the repeal was felt most strongly among the youngest voters - the poll noted that 87 percent of those aged between 18-24 voted to repeal the constitutional ban.

The Irish Times and RTE television exit polls suggest the Irish people have voted overwhelmingly to repeal a 1983 constitutional amendment that requires authorities to treat a fetus and its mother as equals under the law.

Ms Butler said she is "reserving her position" on unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy but has come around to allowing terminations in case of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities.

More than 3.2million people are registered to vote in the referendum, with over 100,000 new voters registering to vote ahead of the poll. He said that majority reigned among both men and women, nearly all age groups and social classes, and perhaps every constituency in the country.

Many returning home to vote were greeted by a group of activists holding a placard reading "Thank you for making the journey so other women don't have to" - a reference to the way Irish women seeking abortions have had to leave the country to obtain them. He has actively campaigned in recent weeks to have the ban abolished.

Despite that, the doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy, given the anti-abortion law. "It's a vote as to whether we trust the women of Ireland to make decisions about their own lives for themselves".

Mr Varadkar claimed Ireland was united - with men and women, almost every age group and every social class opting for reform in Friday's referendum. Picture: PAPrime Minister Leo Varadkar speaks to the media after casting his vote.

     REFERENDUM Ballot papers are handled as officials count votes in the Irish referendum
GETTY REFERENDUM Ballot papers are handled as officials count votes in the Irish referendum

Ireland legalized divorce by a razor-thin majority only in 1995, but became the first country to adopt gay marriage by popular vote in the 2015 referendum.

Ireland, which garnered much praises after electing a gay prime minister previous year, continues to deny women the right to abort.

The specific question people were asked was whether they wanted to see the Eighth Amendment replaced with wording in the constitution that would hand politicians the responsibility to set future laws on abortion, unhindered by constitutional strictures. "The forthcoming referendum calls us to be their voice and defend their right to life".

"It's women's rights, I feel it's basic healthcare, human rights that women deserve, and we're not getting that".

A spokesman for an anti-abortion umbrella group Save The 8th John McGuirk conceded there was "no prospect" the country's abortion ban, imposed in a 1983 referendum, would be retained.

The result is expected to be close after a polarising campaign, but the latest polls suggest voters are ready to overturn the ban.

Others, Irish and not, also joined the conversation on Twitter, including Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, The Crown's Tobias Menzies and Room director Lenny Abrahamson (who Brie Larson retweeted).

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