The Latest: Macron: Ireland makes history with abortion vote
DUBLIN (AP) — The Latest on reaction to the Irish abortion referendum result (all times local):
French President Emmanuel Macron says that Ireland has made history with its abortion referendum in which voters chose to abolish a ban on terminations.
Macron tweeted that “this vote will stand as an essential symbol for women’s freedom.”
France, a largely Roman Catholic country, legalized abortions in 1975.
Britain’s prime minister welcomed the outcome of the Ireland abortion referendum, in which voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish a ban on terminations.
Theresa May said that Friday’s referendum “was an impressive show of democracy which delivered a clear and unambiguous result.”
She congratulated the Irish people and the successful “Yes” campaign.
May’s statement didn’t mention Northern Ireland, where restrictions on abortion remain.
The referendum result in the Republic of Ireland may increase pressure on Northern Ireland to follow suit. Abortions approved by doctors are allowed in the rest of the U.K. until the 24th week of pregnancy, but not in Northern Ireland.
Irish Catholics attending Sunday Mass say they are disappointed with the result of a referendum in which voters opted to legalize abortion and think it reflects the weakening of the Church — a situation that was unthinkable in Ireland a generation ago.
There was no mention of the referendum during the sermon at St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral, but it was weighing heavily on the minds of some worshippers as they left the Mass in central Dublin.
Some worshippers said the overwhelming victory of abortion rights activists seeking the repeal of the Eighth Amendment of the constitution reflects a weakening of the Catholic Church’s historic influence and fills them with dread for Ireland’s future.
Attention is turning to Ireland’s parliament now that the country’s citizens have voted in landslide numbers to remove the abortion ban from its constitution.
It will be up to parliament to make new laws to govern abortions now that the public has turned thumbs down on the Eighth Amendment of the constitution.
Sunday newspapers hailed the vote as bringing a new day to Ireland.
The nearly two-to-one vote ended a harsh anti-abortion regime enacted in 1983. It required doctors to regard the rights of a fetus, from the moment of conception, as equal to the rights of the mother.
In practice, it meant Irish women had to travel abroad for terminations.
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s government will propose that abortions be permissible in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.