Ireland votes to legalise abortion in 'quiet revolution'

A woman from Ireland's

There was no mention of the referendum during the sermon at St Mary's Pro Cathedral, but it was weighing heavily on the minds of some worshippers as they left the Mass in central Dublin.

In 2012, 31-year-old dentist Savita Halappanavar died from a septic miscarriage after being denied an abortion in Ireland - an tragic, cruel incident that helped spur the campaign to repeal the country's ultra-restrictive stance on abortion, codified in the Eighth Amendment.

'I was really glad to see her father say that yesterday they felt they had justice for their daughter, ' Ms Griffin added.

Diarmuid Martin, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, said the Church could not compromise its position on abortion. "It's hard for the church to have credibility". Since 1981 the number of practicing Catholics have dropped by around 15 percent.

After years of tireless campaigning, The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%.

The Together For Yes organisation said: "This is a vote for dignity and decency. Not an Eighth Amendment issue".

Jim Wells, a member of Northern Ireland's socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party, said that after the vote Northern Ireland and Malta were the only parts of Europe where the unborn child was properly protected.

Varadkar said he'd like to pass legislation for a new abortion law by the end of the year, according to The Guardian.

Newspapers reflected on the historic vote.

"You may feel that the country has taken the wrong turn, is no longer a country you recognize", he told those who voted to maintain the abortion ban. A subsequent amendment was added allowing Irish women and girls to seek abortions overseas, and about 170,000 of them done so since 1980, The Journal reported. "Today, the AUL legal team is saddened that the people of Ireland have paved the way for abortion on demand in their country".

Many gathered at the Savita Halappanavar mural as the results of the vote were counted.

The vote removes a 1983 amendment that required Irish authorities to defend the lives of a woman and a foetus equally on nearly all abortions.

Since 1983, around 170,000 Irish women have gone overseas for terminations.

Calling the result a culmination of a "quiet revolution" that had been gaining strength in the last 20 years, Varadkar said the large margin of victory will give his government a greater mandate when enacting new abortion legislation through parliament.

He said Saturday would be remembered as the day Ireland "stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light".

Belfast priest and Belfast Telegraph commentator Fr Patrick McCafferty said: "It is a dark and sad day for our country".

"We're really a tiny place, there's not that many of us and we can only shout loud now". Lawmakers who campaigned for a "No" vote said they would not seek to block the government's plans to allow abortions with no restriction up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy. She died on October 28 and her dead resulted in a massive uproar - nationally as well as internationally and it led to a movement to repeal the eighth amendment which prohibited abortion.

The outcome was a historic victory for women's' rights in a traditionally Catholic country.

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