Ireland abortion referendum: Polls close in historic vote to repeal ban

Glen Norman
May 26, 2018

Voters were asked if they wish to scrap a 1983 amendment to the constitution that gives an unborn child and its mother equal rights to life.

At the end of an emotional campaign, marked by stories of the pain and suffering caused by the abortion ban, many Irish women and men reported crying tears of joy at the apparent revelation that the repressive Ireland they had grown up in was, as one put it simply, "dead". Hozier also weighed in, reminding voters to go the polls today.

"Not the official result, but it's looking good!", Irish Culture Minister Josepha Madigan, coordinator for Prime Minister Leo Varadkar's governing party's campaign for a "Yes" vite, said on Twitter.

It "indicates an Ireland that is not the Catholic state for a Catholic people that it was for so long". The poll says that 68 percent voted yes, and 32 percent voted against. With a turnout of 53 per cent which amounted to 1.2 million people, almost 67 per cent voted Yes and over 33 per cent voted No. The poll is only a prediction.

"So many women have traveled across to England to take care of their family and healthcare needs and I think it's a disgrace and it needs to change", she said, referring to women who travel to Britain for abortions.

"For Ireland, it's hope for the future", she said of the referendum. "Whether you agree or disagree, it shouldn't be the government or anyone else making that decision". One in southwest Dublin offered hugs to people who voted in favour of repealing the ban.

"I have found it hard, I have stumbled but I have met extraordinary women and men along the way who have changed my perspectives on this deeply emotive issue".

In case you're not familiar with what's been going on, the Irish Twittersphere have been cataloguing their journeys home to Ireland to repeal the eighth amendment. "More than 100,000 Irish unborn babies and mothers have been spared from the pain and death of abortion, thanks to the constitutional protection", writes LifeSite's Steven Ertlet.

The 99 randomly selected citizens, after hearing extensive evidence, voted in favour (64 percent) of having no restrictions on termination in early pregnancy.

Ms Woods sees the lack of legal abortion in such cases, and in cases of disability, as "appalling breaches of humanity", but calls the killing of an innocent child a "termination".

"If the vote passes it would be another social-change milestone for Ireland after it legalized contraception (1979), divorce (1995), and same-sex marriage (2015)", USA Today reports.

Thousands of Irish people overseas travelled home to take part in the historic referendum, and supporters of repeal gathered at Dublin Airport to give arrivals an ecstatic welcome. Varadkar told The Irish Times that the government will not hold another referendum if the repeal effort is defeated. Lawmakers are now expected to debate proposed legislation allowing abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and after that in cases of fetal abnormalities or serious risks to the mother's health.

"It is a vote to say, I don't send you away anymore".

The result is expected to be close after a polarising campaign, but the latest polls suggest voters are ready to overturn the ban.

Of the six referendums on abortion since 1983, the May 25 abortion referendum is the most important.

Some voters encountered trouble Friday attempting to return to Ireland to cast a ballot.

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