Ireland votes to overturn ban on abortion in historic referendum

~"Under the eighth amendment, women in crisis pregnancy have been told take the plane or take the boat, today we tell them take our hand."~

The Republic of Ireland has voted to overturn an archaic abortion ban in a landslide result of 66.4 per cent to 33.6 per cent.

In a referendum held on Friday (May 25, 2018) two-thirds of voters were in favour of repealling a 1983 constitutional ban on abortions in the majority Roman Catholic nation.

Currently, the country's laws only allow abortion when a woman's life is at risk, but not in cases where pregnancy is the result of rape, incest, or when fatal foetal abnormality is detected.

The Eighth Amendment—which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn—will be replaced and law bringing unrestricted access to abortion for women up to 12 weeks pregnant could be in force in Ireland as early as the end of 2018 (abortions will only be allowed until the 24th week of pregnancy if there is a risk to a woman's life, or a risk of serious harm to the physical or mental health of a woman, according to The Guardian).

There were emotional scenes from 'yes' voters once the landmark victory was claimed.

After the vote Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar told reporters the result reflected a "culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years." He added, "The people have said that we want a modern constitution for a modern country, that we trust women and we respect them to make the right decision and the right choices about their healthcare."

Irish Health Minister, Simon Harris also spoke to media and said, "Under the eighth amendment, women in crisis pregnancy have been told take the plane or take the boat, today we tell them take our hand."

Others took to social media to share their thoughts about the result:

Similar to the recent same-sex marriage vote in Australia, there was passion on both sides into the lead up to the polls and each side was vocal about their agenda.

A billboard urging a 'no' vote in the referendum to preserve the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution. GETTY

The Save The 8th campaign described the result as a "tragedy of historic proportions", according to the BBC.

"The unborn child no longer has a right to life recognised by the Irish state," said its spokesman John McGuirk.

No campaigners have reportedly vowed to protest, "if and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland".

So, whilst Irish voters have loudly proclaimed their willingness to decriminalise abortion, it might be time to have a conversation about Australia's own restrictive abortion laws, eh?