PES warmly welcomes vote to end abortion ban in Ireland
Legal barriers denying women control over what happens to their own bodies have finally been removed in the Republic of Ireland, in an overwhelming referendum result warmly welcomed by the Party of European Socialists.
Two thirds of Irish voters voted to end the ban on abortion in almost all circumstances, with thirty-nine out of the forty constituencies in Ireland voting Yes.
Labour, PES's member party in Ireland, has campaigned against the constitutional ban on abortion for more than 30 years and was a leading part of the campaign to repeal it. PES and its women's organisation PES Women had also called for a repeal vote, and many sister parties across Europe had sent messages of support to Labour in Ireland.
Commenting on the result, PES president Sergei Stanishev said:
"This historic vote is as welcome as it is overdue. It will end the bizarre anomaly of Irish women being forced to travel abroad for care -- if they can afford it -- or else to submit to dangerous and unregulated abortions in their own country.
"But this is far more than just a practical health measure. It is also about respecting women's rights and allowing women the freedom to make decisions about their own lives and families."
PES Women president Zita Gurmai added:
"After knocking the doors last weekend with our sister organisation in Ireland, I am very proud that the recent efforts from our social democratic family to repeal the 8th amendment have succeeded. This was not only the right decision, but an especially symbolic one at a time where we are seeing a backlash on sexual and reproductive health and rights all over Europe.
"I hope that member states where women don't yet enjoy these rights will soon follow this example -- and equally that countries which have already secured them will not take a step backwards. Women's health, safety and free decision-making power are all at stake."