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First Irish referendum results show 66% voted to end abortion ban

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Yes campaigners jubilate as they wait for the official result of the Irish abortion referendum, at Dublin Castle in Dublin on May 26, 2018. The first official results declared in Ireland’s historic referendum on its strict abortion laws, showed 60 percent in the Galway East constituency backed repealing the constitutional ban on terminations. / AFP PHOTO / Paul FAITH

The first official results declared Saturday in Ireland’s historic referendum on its strict abortion laws showed 66 percent backed repealing a constitutional ban on terminations.

Results from the first four of 40 constituencies to declare showed 66.36 percent voted “Yes” and 33.64 percent voted “No”, on a 62 percent turnout, the central count centre in Dublin announced.

Support for “Yes” was at 77 percent in Dublin Central, 69 percent in Cork South-Central, 64 percent in Cork North-Central and 60 percent in Galway East.

The referendum was set to be a landslide vote in favour of overturning some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he planned for a new law to allow abortions to be in place by the end of the year and Health Minister Simon Harris told AFP that the cabinet would meet on Tuesday to approve the drafting of legislation.

Ireland’s current constitution recognises the “right to life of the unborn” with an “equal right to life of the mother”. Terminations are only allowed if the mother’s life is at risk.

The ban has led to thousands of women travelling each year to neighbouring Britain, where terminations are legal, or increasingly turning to abortion pills sold online.


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