The prime minister, a medical doctor who came to power previous year, spoke to RTE News in advance of the announcement of the referendum's official results, expected later Saturday. If Ireland votes No, the Eight Amendment will remain.
The anti-abortion campaign, which wanted to keep the Irish constitution's eighth amendment, seemed prepared to accept a heavy defeat but vowed to stand firm. It strongly recommended that the Irish parliament consider changing the law, and "any necessary constitutional change". They correctly perceived that Ireland was gradually becoming a more secular country, and wanted to create a bulwark against the introduction of abortion that would be hard to reverse.
"So many women have travelled across to England to take care of their family and healthcare needs and I think it's a disgrace and it needs to change", said "Yes" voter Sophie O'Gara, 28, referring to women who travel to Britain for abortions.
Michelle Sweeney holds a sign to support the reapeal of Ireland's Eighth Amendment.
The law was tweaked in 2013 to allow terminations if the mother's life is at risk, following the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant woman originally from India who was refused an abortion.
On May 25 2018, Ireland has the opportunity to repeal the country's abortion law and the Eighth Amendment, to allow the government to legislate terminations.
People in Ireland voted on Friday in a landmark referendum on whether the traditionally Catholic country should liberalise some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.
Several of Ireland's most prominent politicians, including Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, have raised their voices in favour of repealing the anti-abortion law.
They chronicled their journeys on social media using the hashtag #HomeToVote, sharing thousands of powerful and poignant stories.More news: 'Laurel' or 'yanny'?: Viral 4-second audio clip is dividing the internet
Many have already expressed pro-choice beliefs by rallying around Planned Parenthood, including Elizabeth Banks, America Ferrera, Julianne Moore, Sarah Silverman and Kate Walsh. "We've done it", said Kevin Humphries, a former junior minister who campaigned for more access to abortion.
John McGuirk, an abortion rights opponent, noted that Friday is an International Missing Children's Day.
The Catholic Church is also in favor of the ban. "The right exists, independent of what a majority says".
There have been five previous votes on repealing the Eighth Amendment, all of which failed.
"There is no prospect of the legislation not being passed" Save The 8th spokesman McGuirk told state broadcaster RTE, before appealing for tolerance and respect from "those who find themselves in the majority now".
Women seeking abortion would have to be made aware of their options by a doctor, and wait three days before making a decision. If a woman's health is threatened or in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, abortions up to the 23rd week would be legal.
Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has said almost 200,000 women have traveled to Britain to terminate pregnancies in the 35 years since the amendment was passed.
Abortion was illegal in Ireland under the Offences against the Person Act of 1861, but when contraception was legalised in 1974, there was concern from many conservatives that abortions would follow.
"The Yes vote ends decades of stigma, shame and silence around abortion and unintended pregnancy".