Prime Minister of Ireland Promises New Abortion Laws Will Be Imposed By Year-End

Photo by Liam Lysaght from Flickr

Leo Varadkar, the Prime Minister of Ireland has said that a new abortion law will be in force by the end of this year after the majority of the voters resoundingly chose to repeal the ban of the country on abortion in a referendum that was held yesterday.

The Eighth Amendment grants an equal right to life to the mother and the unborn. It will be replaced with a proposed legislation that will allow abortions to be performed during the first 12 weeks of a women’s pregnancy and up to the 24th week in some exceptional cases.

Varadkar stated that “a quiet revolution has taken place, a great act of democracy.” He added that Saturday was the day that Ireland “embraced our responsibilities as citizens and as a country.”

Others world leader extended their congratulatory remarks to the Taoiseach, with Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, posting a tweet that says: “What a moment for democracy and women’s rights. Tonight, I spoke with Taoiseach @campaignforLeo and his team and congratulated them on the Yes side’s referendum victory legalizing abortion in Ireland. #repealedthe8th.”

A remarkable 66.4 percent of the voters were in favour of the said change, while 33.6 percent voted against it. Every constituency in the Republic of Ireland, except Donegal, backed the reform, while the appetite for change seemed to be present in both women and men and across the majority of age groups.

On Tuesday, Simon Harris, the Irish minister for health, is set to ask for the cabinet’s support to draft the new legislation.

The Eighth Amendment was included in the Irish constitution in 1983 and prohibited abortion except where the life of the woman was at risk. The ban then extended across cases of incest, fetal abnormality, and rape.

However, the law is still in force in Northern Ireland, and Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, is facing appeals to address the situation.