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November 20, 2018

Ireland to pass new abortion law within six months

May 27, 2018
Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says that a new abortion law will be passed within six months. (PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)

After an unexpectedly large victory for the movement to repeal of its constitutional amendment against abortion, Ireland is expected to have a new law within six months.

Two-thirds of voters in Friday’s referendum supported the repeal of the 8th Amendment, which outlawed the procedure by acknowledging “the right to life of the unborn.”




Center-right Taoiseach (the Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar called for the vote earlier this year and praised the result, calling it a “quiet revolution.”

The repeal does not legalize abortion in Ireland, however, and the Oireachtas legislature will need to pass a law doing so.

The legislative process would be easier than expected and complete within six months, Varadkar said, because of “the fact that the result is so clear that it is more than 2:1 in favor.”

The final tally found that 66.4% voted yes to amend the constitution while 33.6% voted no.

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Voters turn out for Ireland's abortion referendum

Proposed legislation from the country’s Health Ministry would legalize abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and allow second-trimester abortions if two doctors determine that there is a risk of serious harm to the mother.

It will also include a three-day waiting period after a woman seeks an abortion.

The law would put Irish abortion law in a similar position to other European countries such as Belgium and the Czech Republic, though laws vary in terms of waiting periods and timeframes for cases.

In England — where many Irish women have traveled for abortions — abortion is legal up to 24 weeks.

Laws in the United States vary from state to state, but the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion across the country in the first trimester.




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