Ireland’s Main Anti-Abortion Campaign Concedes Defeat

Ireland’s main anti-abortion campaign, Save the 8th, has conceded defeat as exit polls suggest a massive victory for the Yes voters of the country’s historic abortion referendum.

statement on the Save the 8th website reads:

“The unborn child no longer has a right to life recognised by the Irish state. Shortly, legislation will be introduced that will allow babies to be killed in our country. We will oppose that legislation. If and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland, because of the inability of the Government to keep their promise about a GP led service, we will oppose that as well. Every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that, and make our voices known.”

The campaign issued the statement as national broadcaster RTÉ News’ exit polls predicted a Yes victory with 69.4 per cent of votes compared to 30.6 per cent for the No vote.

The Irish Times’ exit poll measured 68 per cent for Yes and 32 per cent for No out of 4,400 voters.

Yesterday, Ireland voted whether or not to scrap the eighth amendment to their constitution. The amendment, passed in 1983, made abortion illegal in the country even in cases of rape, fatal foetal abnormalities, and risk to maternal health.

Despite it being illegal, abortion is still a reality for many women in Ireland who either choose to fly out of the country to terminate their pregnancy or seek a dangerous alternative like the abortion pill. The jail term for abortions in Ireland is imprisonment of up to 14 years.

The only exception to the law was made in 2013 after the death of Savita Halappanavar who died in 2012. Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant at the time, had asked for an abortion after experiencing severe back pain and was miscarrying but the doctors refused because of the country’s law. Halappanavar died of septicaemia (septic shock).

Following Halappanavar’s death, abortion is only legal if the mother is at risk of near-death.

A mural of Halappanavar has since been printed on a wall in Dublin with Yes voters honouring her memory with flowers, notes, and lanterns printed with “Never Again”.

Of the referendum, Halappanavar’s parents said:

“I strongly feel that the young daughters of Ireland should not have the same fate as Savita. I hope that people in Ireland will remember the fate of our daughter Savita on the day of the referendum and vote Yes so that what happened to us won’t happen to other families. And by doing this you will be paying a great debt to the departed soul.”

Earlier this week, thousands of Irish citizens living overseas flew home in order to cast their votes at the ballot. Irish nationals from America, Australia, and Bangkok have hopped on trains, buses, and planes to make a difference.

Upon official victory for the Yes vote, the government will introduce new legislation that will legalise abortions of up to 12 weeks. If there are severe risks to the mother’s health or if there is a fatal abnormality to the foetus, a woman can still lawfully require an abortion after this time.

You can learn more about #togetherforyes on the National Campaign to Remove the Eighth Amendment website HERE.