Hey, check out this happy crowd, with not a sour puss amongst them! The above photo taken outside Dublin Castle reflects the woman-led movement and massive youth voter turnout which led to today’s landslide vote to repeal Ireland’s 8th Amendment, its 35-year constitutional abortion ban. With all constituencies declared moments ago, the Guardian has reported 66.4% in favor of repeal. Only one of 40 constituencies voted against. Crowds are reportedly chanting “Savita, Savita!”–in reference to Savita Halappanavar, who died in 2012 from sepsis after a miscarriage which could have been avoided were she granted an abortion.
The opposition group Save the Eighth has called the result a “tragedy of historic proportions” but respects the will of the people. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has called it “the culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years.” Ireland passed same-sex marriage in 2015 and elected Varadkar, its first openly gay prime minister, in 2017. The decision is considered a rejection of the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church.
An estimated 3,000 Irish women have been travelling to England and Wales to get abortions each year, and until now, the penalty for performing or undergoing an abortion (including taking imported abortion pills) was a 14-year jail sentence.
The New York Times reports that medical practitioners will still be allowed to “conscientiously object” to giving abortions.
Activists in Northern Ireland, where abortion is still outlawed under 19th century law, are now demanding their own vote.