Global Watch

IRISH People Vote For Legalising Abortion Defying Their Church

IRELAND, a catholic nation close to England, is set to create history as  68 per cent plus  people defying the Church have  voted for allowing abortion in a first ever  referendum  conducted on the vital issue. Women presently are forced to travel to England where abortion is allowed incurring heavy expenditure. The Catholic Church had strongly opposed repealing the amendment and Irish bishops warned in a joint statement that “We believe that the deletion or amendment of this article can have no other effect than to expose unborn children to greater risk and that it would not bring about any benefit for the life or health of women in Ireland.” A smiling Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, 39,  of Indian origin ,who had arranged  the referendum risking his political  declared that the country is going to  make history as exit polls indicated a landslide victory for the ‘Yes’ vote to repeal the country’s stringent abortion laws in a landmark referendum. According to an exit poll published by ‘The Irish Times’, 68 per cent voted in favour of abolishing the eighth amendment to the Irish Constitution that gives an unborn child and its mother equal rights to life. More than 4,500 voters were interviewed by Ipsos/MRBI as they left polling stations on Thursday with the highest ‘Yes’ vote expected in Dublin at 77 per cent. The results of the referendum will be confirmed later today after the count is completed.”It’s looking like we will make history,” said Varadkar, as the exit poll results poured in. While the two main parties of Ireland – Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil – did not take official positions on the referendum, politicians were permitted to campaign on a personal basis and Varadkar had been campaigning strongly in favour of a Yes vote. It has been an honour to be on this journey with you and to work #togetherforyes… Thank you to everyone who voted today. Democracy in action,” he said in an online message on Friday. The hashtag filled up social media as Irish citizens boarded planes in Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Tokyo, Sydney, Los Angeles, New York and from all across Europe and the UK.Turnout was on course to be one of the highest for a referendum in Ireland, possibly topping the 61 per cent who voted in the plebiscite that backed same-sex marriage in the country 2015.Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s minister for women and equalities, welcomed the forecasted result. She tweeted, “Based on the exit poll, a historic & great day for Ireland, & a hopeful one for Northern Ireland. That hope must be met”. Acknowledging an equal right to life for the unborn child and the mother, the eighth amendment effectively prohibited termination in almost all cases, including rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality. One of the key cases influencing the debate on abortion in Ireland was that of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died of sepsis in a hospital in Galway after being denied an abortion during a protracted miscarriage in 2012.Her husband Praveen Halappanavar had told her inquest that she requested a termination but was refused because the baby’s heart was still beating. A midwife manager at Galway University Hospital confirmed that she told Halappanavar a termination could not be carried out because Ireland was a “Catholic country”. The inquest into her death returned a verdict of medical misadventure. Irish parliament voted to legalise abortion in cases of medical emergencies as well as the risk of suicide in July, 2013.The referendum this week will take that further, and if the ‘Yes’ vote wins, the existing article of the Constitution which was inserted in 1983 – and the 1992 additions – will be replaced with this text: “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.” (Image Courtesy The New York Times)


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