Getty Images / Jeff J Mitchell

Exit polls have suggested that the Republic of Ireland has voted by a landslide to overturn the country's archaic abortion laws.

The likely landmark decision to overturn the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which effectively bans abortions by recognising the equal right to life of both mother and unborn child, has sparked debate online and fuelled speculation that Northern Ireland will be forced to review its own restrictive laws.

Journalist and podcast Naomi O'Leary pointed out that these predicted referendum results reveal a disconnect between young people and politicians.

Exit polls show that over 90 per cent of young voters voted to repeal the amendment.

O'Leary then highlights the fact that Northern Ireland is now the only place in the UK which places strict regulations on abortion.

Currently, abortions are only permissible in Northern Ireland if the life of the mother is at risk.

But, as the case of Savita Halappanavar - a dentist who died from a septic miscarriage after being refused an abortion in the Republic of Ireland - proved, these oppressive regulations can have devastating repercussions.

In the hours since exit polls pointed towards a victory, activists and mourners have been decorating Halappanavar's mural and paying their respects, acknowledging the fact that her horrific treatment became a catalyst for change.

Penny Mordaunt MP similarly tweeted hope that the historic referendum results would place pressure on Northern Ireland to overturn its laws.

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