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Irish abortion referendum ends in landslide pro-choice victory

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Ireland has voted to repeal the country's constitutional ban on abortion

"Rather, it will be carried high on the shoulders of a majority across the entire country", he said. "What Irish voters did yesterday is a tragedy of historic proportions".

Support came not only from major cities like Dublin but rural areas. "It's an Ireland that is more tolerant, more inclusive and where he can be whatever he wants without fear of recrimination", he said.

Here is a closer look at what this vote is about, what Ireland's eighth amendment stands for. and what happens if the amendment is repealed.

ASTONISHING MARGIN Anti-abortion activists conceded defeat early on Saturday as their opponents expressed astonishment at the scale of their victory.

In 1983, the eight amendment to the Irish constitution was ratified, which outlawed abortion in the country. The Eighth Amendment had prevented any further relaxation of the ban. One was in 1983, three were in 1992, and one was in 2002.

The official result is due tomorrow - with the count beginning in the morning - and if similar to the exit poll it will be a historic victory.

Kevin Keane, 23, is the president of the Students' Union at Trinity College Dublin.

The first to declare was Galway East, a traditionally conservative constituency in the west that nonetheless returned a large majority for repealing the abortion ban by a?60.2 percent to 39.8 percent vote.

"There is no prospect of the (abortion rights) legislation not being passed", McGuirk added.

If the repeal vote wins, Ireland's political leadership has promised that Parliament will quickly pass a new law guaranteeing unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks, and beyond that in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities or serious risks to a mother's health.

People involved in the conversation were largely from Ireland, the UK, America, Canada, and Australia.

Ireland's government has vowed to adopt legislation liberalizing abortion protocols in the event of a "Yes" victory.

Ireland's eighth amendment recognises the "right to life of the unborn" with an "equal right to life of the mother".

The repeal is yet another sign of a surprising liberal shift in the deeply Catholic country, which has also voted to legalize same sex marriage and elect a gay prime minister in recent years.

The Irish Times' exit poll measured 68 per cent for Yes and 32 per cent for No out of 4,400 voters.

After naturally miscarrying the fetus, Halappanavar died of blood poisoning days later.

Media organisations from around the world have their eyes on Ireland today, as counting in the referendum to repeal the country's strict anti-abortion laws continues. A woman would seek a abortion from a doctor or other medical professional, who would have a legal obligation to discuss the woman's options with her.

Campaigning was not allowed on Friday, but Dublin was still filled with signs and banners urging citizens to vote "yes" or "no". And state broadcaster RTÉ, in a separate survey, found Irish voters rejecting the 8th Amendment 69.4 percent to 30.6 percent. Other Irish abortion advocates, like the country's lesbian minister for children, simply denied the humanity of those still in the womb.

Along with the pro-choice protesters, there are many in Ireland who are in favour of the anti-abortion laws, i.e., they are pro-life.

"What we have seen today is a culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years", he said. "I feel very emotional", Zappone said. She flew home from Vancouver to vote Yes in the national referendum. The global media - particularly the British media - aided the "yes" campaign with a constant barrage of stories about women who traveled overseas, usually to England, to abort their children.

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