The final count is in, and it is a big “Yes” to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution, which previously outlawed abortion and gave mother and unborn baby an equal right to life. Ireland’s state broadcaster RTE is reporting that the voter turnout was at 64.1%, with 1,429,981 million people casting a “Yes” but only 723,623 voting “No” – an astonishing margin.
Shock results include the County Cork constituencies, the majority of whom voted yes. This deeply religious county is almost 90% Catholic, according to a 2011 census. Religious affiliation, however, has declined in recent years. As for Cork City itself, which declared a demographic of 75% Catholic back in 2011, Cork East, Cork South-West and Cork North-Central, Cork North-West and Cork-Central all backed the repeal. Donegal was the only constituency in which a majority voted “No,” with a result of 51.9% (No) – 48.1% (Yes).
— Martina Fitzgerald (@MartinaFitzg) May 26, 2018
“I said in recent days that this was a once in a generation vote,” declared Taioseach Leo Varadkar at a jubilant Dublin Castle. “Today I believe we have voted for the next generation.”
The newly proposed legislation will legalize abortion, for any reason, up to 12 weeks. After this term limit, abortions may still be sought in particular circumstances, such as risk to the mother’s health. Under this new legislation, abortion will go from criminal to commonplace. It is a massive blow to the pro-life community in Ireland.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told RTE that the legislation to be introduced following this referendum would be “exactly along the lines of the general scheme.” So, unlimited abortion up to 12 weeks is a certainty. You can read the full proposal here.
“Save the 8th,” one of the main campaign groups fighting to keep the constitution as it was, released a statement this morning, which read:
“The 8th amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child – it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, has always existed, and will always exist.
What Irish voters did yesterday is a tragedy of historic proportions. However, a wrong does not become right simply because a majority support it.
We are so proud of all of those who stood with us in this campaign: our supporters, our donors, our families and our loved ones. This campaign took a huge personal toll on all of us who were involved, and we have been so grateful for their support.
The unborn child no longer has a right to life recognized by the Irish state. Shortly, legislation will be introduced that will allow babies to be killed in our country. We will oppose that legislation. If and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland, because of the inability of the government to keep their promise about a GP-led service, we will oppose that as well. Every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that, and make our voices known.
Abortion was wrong yesterday. It remains wrong today. The constitution has changed, but the facts have not.”
Fantastic crowds at Dublin Castle. Remarkable day. A quiet revolution has taken place, a great act of democracy. pic.twitter.com/MLtzkSkdLw
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) May 26, 2018
Twitter has erupted into a flurry of victorious pro-abortion soundbites:
According to exit poll:
– Overall vote was 68 Yes 32 No
– a 77% Yes vote in Dublin
– 66% Yes vote in Munster
– 59% Yes vote in Connacht
– Majority in all age groups under 65
– Ages 18-24 voted 87% for Repeal
If borne out this is sensationally historic.#repealthe8th
— Naomi O'Leary (@NaomiOhReally) May 25, 2018
— Oisín MacCanna ? (@OisMacC) May 25, 2018
Thank you to everyone who voted today. Democracy in action. It’s looking like we will make history tomorrow…. #Together4Yes
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) May 25, 2018
With exit polls published, it looks like #8thRef has been emphatically passed. Important though that we respect and count every vote. If the exit polls are accurate, the view of our Republic is clear and we as an Oireachtas should move efficiently to enact the will of our people.
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) May 25, 2018
— Graham YES Linehan (@Glinner) May 25, 2018
In stark contrast, McGuirk posted a very solemn message to Facebook as the result becomes increasingly clear.
Like many of you I am broken hearted about the apparent result, and it's many implications, which go way beyond…