On Friday, voters in Ireland took to the polling stations to cast their ballots on whether the country should repeal the eighth amendment of its constitution, which effectively bans abortions. Results for the referendum started coming in on Saturday—by the afternoon, the final vote was at 66.4 percent for the repeal and 33.6 percent against—and folks around the globe celebrated what could be considered Ireland’s first step towards allowing legal and safe abortions.
Constituents gathered at Dublin Castle in the nation’s capital, taking a moment to honor Savita Halappanavar, a dentist who died of sepsis in 2012 during a miscarriage, during which she’d asked several times for an abortion (doctors wouldn’t administer one as they could still hear a fetal heartbeat). Her death was considered a catalyst for the movement to repeal the eighth amendment, her image becoming a part of the campaign for a “yes” vote.
Crowds at Dublin Castle chant “Savita! Savita!” to honor Savita Halappanavar, a woman who died in 2012 after a miscarriage and became the face of the campaign to repeal Ireland’s abortion law https://www.buzzfeed.com/alanwhite/this-mural-to-savita-halappanavar-has-become-a-defining?utm_term=4ldqpgc&bftwnews#4ldqpgc
When the results were announced, Taoiseach (that’s Prime Minister to those of us outside Ireland) Leo Varadkar gave an incredible speech, remarking: “Today is an historic day for Ireland. A quiet revolution has taken place, and a great act of democracy. A hundred years since women got the right to vote. Today, we as a people have spoken. And we say that we trust women and we respect women and their decisions.”
“Today I believe we have voted for the next generation,” he continued. “We have voted to look reality in the eye and we did not blink. We have voted to provide compassion where there was once a cold shoulder, and to offer medical care where once we turned a blind eye.”
Across the globe, many chimed in via social media with their thoughts on Ireland’s historic referendum. Here are some of the most powerful, poignant reactions to the repeal vote from Twitter.
There were celebrations and congratulations…
Ireland Has Officially Voted “Yes” To Relaxing Its Strict Abortion Laws
History has been made after the public voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the constitution.
I lived in Ireland for a while. On the walls of pub bathrooms, women scrawled the phone numbers for information about access to secret abortions, the way we do here the names of dangerous men.
An anonymous network necessary to guard our own bodies.
This is a really big deal. https://twitter.com/rtenews/status/1000425444427161600 …
Ireland Votes to Legalize Abortion in Blow to Catholic Conservatism
The referendum was the latest sign of a drift toward liberalism in a country that only recently installed a gay man as prime minister and allowed same-sex marriage.
…as well as reminders about the collective power of women at the polls.
My whole adult life I thought I had a minority position on abortion. Turns out I didn’t. Thank you Ireland for your compassion for women
A polite and timely reminder to the ‘pro-life’ people, this doesn’t mean doctors are going to be running around the streets of Ireland, forcing pregnant women to surrender to abortions. This gives humans a right to choose what to do with their own body. Hurrah! #RepealThe8th
Congratulations Ireland! This overwhelming repeal of the Abortion Ban is an important step in assuring women and girls are in the driver seat and have control over their lives and bodies! https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/05/26/ireland-votes-overwhelmingly-repeal-abortion-ban …
Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly to Repeal Abortion Ban
The first vote I ever cast was in one of the six referendaums that Ireland has had on abortion. Today, I watched with tears of joy as it became clear that two-thirds of Irish people voted to repeal…
Ireland just repealed the 8th, Saudi Arabia is finally letting women drive, & our ostensible POTUS is a self-confessed sexual assailant who has almost certainly paid for abortions himself, but tries to overturn Roe & abolish Planned Parenthood.
Keep fighting like hell.
Congratulations to the organizers and the people of Ireland for this historic victory for women’s health. Every woman deserves safe, affordable access to comprehensive reproductive health care — including abortion. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44256152 …
Landslide vote overturns Irish abortion ban
The Republic of Ireland votes to overturn its abortion ban with 66.4 % backing reform of the constitution.
This photo says it all. When women own the power of our voices, of our votes we can defeat the patriarchy and everything and everyone else attempting to keep us in our “place.” Thank you to the women and men of Ireland
who voted yes. #RepealThe8th https://twitter.com/badass_w/status/1000187815999635456 …
Feeling so emotional today about Ireland’s vote to #RepealThe8th. Sometimes you forget what good news feels like, that people’s minds change, that an argument for dignity and rights can still win out in a huge way
Ireland’s decision to stop forcing women to leave the country for an abortion should make us look at our own abortion deserts. The average distance women have to travel for an abortion is rising, with some traveling out of state and hundreds of miles away. https://www.cnn.com/2017/10/03/health/abortion-access-disparities-study/index.html …
How far women travel for an abortion in the US
Between 2011 and 2014, the average distance an American woman traveled to get an abortion increased by just 0.2 miles, but there are wide differences depending on state and region.