Exit Polls: Ireland Votes to Repeal Abortion Ban

Charlene Craig
May 26, 2018

"There is no prospect of the (abortion rights) legislation not being passed", he said.

The Times reports that supporters of the ban hoped to secure enough votes in Ireland's rural areas to preserve the ban, but the Times reports that rural areas voted as much as 60 percent to repeal the ban. The referendum's passage is a huge win for reproductive-rights advocates in a Catholic country that for decades pledged to give women and fetuses an "equal right to life" and made abortion punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Following a 2015 vote, Ireland legalized same-sex marriage.

The Irish Times and RTE television exit polls suggest the Irish people have voted to repeal a 1983 constitutional amendment that effectively bans abortions.

"It's been a great exercise in democracy and the people have said we want a modern constitution for a modern country, and that we trust women to take the right decisions about their own healthcare".

The Save the Eighth group said: "What Irish voters did yesterday is a tragedy of historic proportions".

Varadkar's government has proposed that if the amendment is repealed, abortion will be allowed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and between 12 and 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.

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The exit polls suggest that 77 percent of people in Dublin voted Yes - but so did 60 percent of people in the countryside.

At the end of the day, if the anti-abortion law of Ireland does get voted out, terminating a pregnancy will at the least no longer be a crime.

The eighth amendment to the Irish constitution was installed following a 1983 referendum which approved outlawing abortion. It would mean the once-Catholic country would "join that sad community of nations who throw away irreplaceable human beings through abortion on demand".

The big cities - Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway - are in many ways typical Northern European cities, with cosmopolitan voters and low levels of religious observance.

O'Connor said the vote is a "rejection of an Ireland that treated women as second-class citizens".

A complete ban was lifted in Ireland five years ago for cases where the mother's life is in danger.

Ironically, due to Ireland being one of the few European Union countries that doesn't allow people overseas to vote via post or in embassies, thousands of Irish people living overseas have had to travel from across the world purely to cast their vote.

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Happalanavar's face has become the symbol of the "Yes" campaign to end the abortion ban. The poll has a margin of error of 1.6 per cent.

"Yes" campaigners argued that with over 3,000 women traveling to Britain each year for terminations - a right enshrined in a 1992 referendum - and others ordering pills illegally online, abortion is already a reality in Ireland.

Legal abortion will likely continue to be a contentious topic in Ireland, as it is in the US.

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.

Exit polls indicate that the highest Yes vote was in Dublin, with 77 percent.

Ireland has traditionally been one of the most religious countries in Europe.

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