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Twitter Reacts to Ireland's Historic Abortion Vote

Irish anti-abortion campaign concedes it has lost referendum

"We are deeply saddened to learn that many Irish people voted against love and life by repealing the 8 amendment", Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life commented. Others sang songs in the sunshine outside the main Dublin results center as they awaited the official result.

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. "The constitution has changed, but the facts have not", it added.

The result south of the border has shifted focus to Northern Ireland's similarly strict abortion regime, with Prime Minister Theresa May facing calls to act. Donegal, in the northwest of the country, is the only county in Ireland where Tally men and women think the "no" vote might narrowly prevail.??

Following the announcement at Dublin Castle, the taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar, who campaigned in favour of repealing, said it was "a historic day for Ireland". Some said it seemed as if almost everyone on their flights was headed home to vote yes on the repeal. "We are not a divided country - the result is resounding".

Friday's vote repealed the Eighth Amendment to Ireland's Constitution, which was added in 1983 and granted equal rights to unborn fetuses and amounted to an nearly complete ban on abortions.

"It's incredible. For all the years and years and years we've been trying to look after women and not been able to look after women, this means everything", said Mary Higgins, obstetrician and Together For Yes campaigner.

Saturday's triumph for abortion reformers occurred only months before Pope Francis visits the country - the first since John Paul II's tour of Ireland in 1979.

"The outcome of the referendum is an extremely worrying development for the protection of the unborn child in Northern Ireland", said Jim Wells, a member of Northern Ireland's socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party.

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If the partial results hold up, the referendum would likely end the need for thousands of Irish women to travel overseas - mostly to neighboring Britain - for abortions they can't get at home.

Katherine Zappone, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, said she is confident new abortion legislation can be approved by parliament and put in place before the end of the year.

Education minister Anne Milton suggested she would back liberalisation if there was free vote, telling ITV's Peston on Sunday that the current situation "does feel anomalous". The laws prohibit abortion while the foetus is live, even if there is a threat to the mother's life.

In the wording of the now repealed Eighth Amendment, women in Ireland could only have an abortion if they could prove to the court or to the medical community that their lives were threatened.

Exit polls predict overwhelming support for the repeal of the constitutional ban. Final results were due later on Saturday.

Ireland's pro-life "Save The 8th" campaign has conceded defeat in the country's historic abortion referendum after exit polls reported a landslide win for those advocating liberalisation.

"There is no prospect of the legislation not being passed", he says. The government proposed to change the law to allow abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, with the possibility of later abortions in special circumstances.

On Friday, voters in Ireland took to the polling stations to cast their ballots on whether the country should repeal the eighth amendment of its constitution, which effectively bans abortions.

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