Ireland votes resoundingly to repeal abortion ban

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A huge 66.4 per cent chose to repeal the controversial Eighth Amendment on Friday, after months of campaigning gripped the country.

A crisis pregnancy for Mellet in 2011 became an important step in the fight against Ireland's constitutional amendment that bans abortion in nearly all circumstances.

Irish voters have overwhelmingly cast their ballots in favor of repealing a constitutional amendment banning abortion.

"I'd like to thank the people of Limerick, they've showed great compassion".

In Ireland, people are especially happy about the victory.

"I feel safe now, I feel comfortable", she told CNN. "And that indicates to me that we are a country that is not divided".

"This is a huge step forward for Ireland", Mr Coveney said.

A statement from the Save the 8th campaign, a group which fought against the legalization of abortion in Ireland, called the vote a "tragedy of historic proportions," but commended those who stood up for the right to life, saying "we are so proud of all those who stood with us in this campaign". In 2012, the death of 31-year-old dentist Savita Halappanavar - who died from miscarriage complications after being denied an abortion in the country - became a catalyst for the Irish abortion rights movement.

A spokesman for an anti-abortion umbrella group, Save The 8th, conceded there was "no prospect" the country's abortion ban, imposed in a 1983 referendum, would be retained.

An untold number of those votes were cast by young Irish women now living overseas, like Ciara Coogan, who travelled home from where she works in France to participate.

Under current laws, abortion is banned in most cases, forcing thousands of Irish women to travel to Britain and elsewhere for termination of pregnancies.

Ireland voted to repeal the eighth amendment to their constitution by a landslide Friday opening the path to legalizing abortion. As a result, thousands of Irish women make the trip overseas, often to England, to have an abortion.

People celebrate at Dublin Castle as the official results of the referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution are announced in favour of the yes vote. "This is about women taking their rightful place in Irish society, finally". The consequent prohibition on abortion was partly lifted in 2013 for cases where the mother's life was in danger. "They have said we need a modern constitution for a modern country", he said.

Ireland's Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said Saturday she expects new abortion legislation to be in place before the end of the year.

That means Ireland, a deeply Catholic conservative nation, will be more liberal than New Zealand when it comes to abortion laws.

Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Law Commission is due to report back to him by the end of this year and, providing the Government can agree on the recommendations, he says it's possible there could be legislation before Parliament next year.

At Dublin Castle, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and deputy leader Michelle O'Neill held up a banner with the words: "The North is next".