Behind the Push to Name Ireland’s Abortion Legislation ‘Savita’s Law’

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The referendum on abortion, many Irish said, was the final crack in the foundation of the old Ireland.

Voters in Ireland, a once deeply Catholic nation, backed the change by two-to-one, a far higher margin than any opinion poll in the run up to the vote had predicted.

Ireland's push to liberalise its laws is in contrast to another traditionally Catholic European country, Poland, where the ruling conservative party and still powerful church are seeking to ban most abortions.

Each year, thousands of women - including those who were raped, victims of incest, suffered from fatal fetal abnormality or had other health-related abortions - are believed to have traveled to Britain to seek abortions that were banned at home.

Anti-abortion groups in Ireland vowed to continue their fight to protect existing abortion laws and the rights of the unborn child despite an apparent referendum setback.

His government will propose that abortions be permissible in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar called it a quiet revolution and a win for democracy. The order will be ready sometime before July, according to Irish sources, and it's expected to pass through Ireland's legislative houses, the Dáil and Seanad, despite lingering opposition. The Irish electorate voted by 1,429,981 votes to 723,632 to repeal the 1983 amendment, which recognizes the equal right to life of the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

He said it will be remembered as "the day Ireland stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light". Terminations of pregnancy will still be possible after that if the mother's life is in danger, as was the case with Savita.

Ailbhe Smyth, 71, co-director of the official Together for Yes campaign, said real-life testimonies from women affected by the ban had helped swing the vote.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar votes as Ireland holds a referendum on liberalizing its law on abortion in Dublin
Ireland Votes To Lift Its Abortion Ban, Exit Polls Show

Attention is turning Sunday to Ireland's parliament now that the country's citizens have voted in landslide numbers to remove the abortion ban from its constitution.

Former One Direction member and Irish native Niall Horan also shared his thoughts on the vote.

Many went online to share their flight itineraries, and some tweeted photos taken with like-minded voters at airports - most wearing the "Repeal" sweatshirts that became the symbol of the prevailing sentiment.

If Irish abortions follow the trends of the United States and other countries where abortion is legal, mothers' first trimester is where the biggest percentage of abortions happen, often well over 90 percent.

No social issue had divided Ireland's 4.8 million people as sharply as abortion, which was pushed up the political agenda by the death in 2012 of a 31-year-old Indian immigrant from a septic miscarriage after she was refused a termination.

"Poll after poll has shown in the north, much like it did in the south, that between 62-72% people in every one of the polls is in favour of a change to the law", she said.

Since 2013, abortions have been allowed in Ireland only in cases of life-threatening conditions.

The Save the Eighth group said: "What Irish voters did yesterday is a tragedy of historic proportions".

"We've got justice for Savita".

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