Eighth Amendment repealed as Irish President signs bill into law

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crowds celebrate outside Dublin Castle
Image caption,
Crowds celebrated outside Dublin Castle after the result was announced

The Eighth Amendment which effectively banned abortion in the Republic of Ireland has been formally repealed.

Irish President Michael D Higgins signed the abortion referendum bill into law on Tuesday.

In May, the country voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%. - a landslide win for the repeal side.

The Eighth Amendment had granted an equal right to life to the mother and the unborn child.

With the repeal of the Eighth, the Irish government's recommendation is that women will be able to access a termination within the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy.

President Higgins signed the 36th Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018.

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar told the Dáil (Irish Parliament) on Tuesday that legislation would be introduced in the first week of October.

Mr Varadkar said the timeline would mean services would be in place in the new year.

Anti-abortion groups called the May referendum result a ''tragedy of historic proportions''.

One group said it was already making plans to protest outside abortion clinics when they eventually open in Ireland.

The result in the Republic has shone a light on Northern Ireland's similarly strict abortion laws.

There have been calls for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to step in.

From October, Northern Ireland will be the only part of the British Isles with an almost blanket ban on terminations.