DUBLIN – The Latest on the Irish abortion referendum (all times local):
One of Ireland's leading anti-abortion groups says the abortion referendum result is a "tragedy of historic proportions" in a statement that all but admits defeat in the historic vote.
Spokesman John McGuirk of the Save the 8th group — which refers to the Eighth Amendment in the constitution that bans abortions — told Irish television Saturday that many Irish citizens will not recognize the country they are waking up in.
The official vote tally for Friday's vote has not been finished but exit polls predict a massive victory for repealing the constitutional ban.
McGuirk said it will now be relatively easy for the government to pass more liberal abortion laws in the parliament.
"There is no prospect of the legislation not being passed," he says.
The government proposes that women be allowed to terminate pregnancies in the first 12 weeks.
Official counting is set to begin in Ireland's historic abortion rights referendum, with two exit polls predicting an overwhelming victory for those seeking to end the country's strict ban.
The Irish Times and RTE television exit polls suggest the Irish people have voted to repeal a 1983 constitutional amendment that effectively bans abortions. Currently, terminations are only allowed when a woman's life is at risk.
The exit polls are predictions only, with official results expected Saturday afternoon. Paper ballots must be counted and tallied.
If the "yes" forces seeking a constitutional change prevail as the polls suggest, Ireland's parliament will be charged with coming up with new abortion laws.
The government proposes to allow abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy with later terminations allowed in some cases.