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Ireland’s prime minister promises new abortion laws by year-end

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said a new abortion law will be in force by the end of the year, after voters resoundingly decided to repeal the country's ban on abortion in a referendum yesterday.

The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and the unborn, will be replaced with proposed legislation allowing abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to the 24th week in exceptional circumstances.

Varadkar said that "a quiet revolution has taken place, a great act of democracy". He added Saturday was the day Ireland "embraced our responsibilities as citizens and as a country".

The Taoiseach was congratulated by other world leaders, with Canada's Justin Trudeau tweeting: "What a moment for democracy and womens rights."

What a moment for democracy and womens rights. Tonight, I spoke with Taoiseach @campaignforLeo and his team and congratulated them on the Yes sides referendum victory legalizing abortion in Ireland. #repealedthe8th

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 27, 2018

An overwhelming 66.4 per cent voted in favour of the change, while 33.6 per cent voted no. Every constituency in the Republic of Ireland supported the reform, except Donegal, while the appetite for change seemed present in both men and women and across most age groups.

Irish minister for health Simon Harris is set to seek the cabinet's backing on Tuesday to draft new legislation.

The Eighth Amendment was added to the Irish constitution in 1983 and banned abortion except where the woman's life was at risk. The ban extended across cases of rape, incest and foetal abnormality.

However, the strict law still exists in Northern Ireland, and Prime Minister Theresa May is facing calls to address this situation.

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