The Citizens' Assembly have voted to "replace or amend" article 40.3.3., the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which forbids abortions taking place in Ireland.
99 Irish citizens were tasked with developing new recommendations on the controversial law. However, only 91 were present at the vote today, according to RTE.
During the discussions which took place over the course of six months, the assembly heard submissions from campaigners from both sides of the debate, as well as medical experts and testimonies from women who had been affected by the amendment.
Earlier today, a vote for legislation to change the amendment was passed with 87 per cent in favour and 13 per cent against.
The assembly was given a ballot paper this morning with two options.
The first read that “Article 40.3.3 should be retained in full”, while the second said that Article 40.3.3 should not be retained in full.”
#CitizensAssembly Ballot 2 Result: 56% of the members have voted that Article 40.3.3 should be replaced or amended— Citizens' Assembly (@CitizAssembly) April 22, 2017
This afternoon, 56 per cent of the assembly voted to “amend or replace” the amendment and 44 per cent voted to repeal the amendment. Two members preferred not to state an option.
The votes took place in Malahide Castle and coverage from the assembly was streamed online.
There will now be a third ballot presented to the assembly to distinguish how the article should be replaced or amended.
Two types of replacement or amendment are possible, the first option is that it should be replaced with a constitutional provision that explicitly authorises only the Irish parliament to legislate to address both termination of pregnancy and any rights of the unborn.
This provision would grant the government the exclusive power to make or amend law on these issues.
Ballot 1 results: A majority of #CitizensAssembly members have voted that Art 40.3.3 should not be retained in full— Citizens' Assembly (@CitizAssembly) April 22, 2017
The second option decrees that the amendment should be replaced or amended with a new constitutional provision that directly addresses both termination of pregnancy and any rights of the unborn.
This constitutional provision, as interpreted by the courts, would limit the law-making power of the parliament.
The voting will begin on Ballot 3 at 1.20pm, and the results can be expected at 5.20pm this evening.