Ireland votes by 66% to overturn abortion ban

Dublin, IrelandUpdated: May 26, 2018, 11:24 PM IST

Yes campaigners jubilate as they wait for the official result of the Irish abortion referendum, at Dublin Castle in Dublin on May 26 Photograph:(AFP)

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Results from the first 4 of 40 constituencies to declare showed 66.36% voted 'Yes' and 33.64% voted 'No'

Ireland voted by an overwhelming majority to overturn a constitutional ban on abortion in a historic referendum in this traditionally Catholic country, final results showed on Saturday.

The pro-choice campaign won Friday's referendum with 66 per cent of the 2.1 million votes cast, the returning officer said at the central counting centre in Dublin Castle.

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.