#hometovote movement brings thousands back to Ireland for abortion referendum

Charlene Craig
May 26, 2018

The RTE exit poll shows 69.4% voting "yes" and 30.6% "no".

Voting has closed on the Ireland's referendum on abortion laws - with early exit polls suggesting the country has voted to repeal the eighth amendment, which bans abortion. The survey by pollster Ipsos-MRBI says 68 per cent of voters backed repeal of the ban and 32 per cent opposed it.

Abortion up to 12 weeks would not bring Ireland "into line" with Britain, where we allow abortion to be performed up to 24 weeks and up to birth in cases of disability; however, as with all "strict safeguards" surrounding such laws supposed to deal with "hard cases", familiarity breeds contempt, and in time the Irish time limit would be relaxed. Hundreds of Labour members have flown to Ireland, potentially sharing the same plane as a woman returning home after having a safe abortion, to campaign for accessible abortions at home in Ireland.

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The now-controversial Eighth Amendment was introduced after a referendum in 1983. "I am conscious that in 1983 there was only a turnout of 55%, most people made a decision to sit out and I hope that won't happen on this occasion and I am really encouraging everyone to come out and vote", he said. "So many women have travelled to England to take care of their family and health-care needs and I think it's a disgrace and it needs to change", she said, referring to women who travel for abortions.

Campaigning by pro- and anti-abortion groups has ramped up in recent weeks, dominating the news cycle in Ireland. People in the countryside and small towns tend to be more conservative and more religious. The campaign to repeal the amendment has been ongoing since its inception.

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar arrives to cast his vote at a polling station in Dublin on May 25, 2018. I hope that today Ireland will vote yes for that freedom. The turnout for Friday's vote may top the gay marriage referendum, RTE reported.

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A subsequent government investigation revealed that the ambiguity which surrounds the 8th amendment to the constitution - which only allows for abortions in cases where the life of the mother is in extreme danger - was a "materially contributory factor" in Savita's death.

Abortion is now illegal in Ireland and has been since 1983 when an amendment was made requiring authorities to equally protect the right to life of a mother and that of a fetus, from the moment of conception. Since then, roughly 170,000 Irish women have traveled to other countries to have pregnancies terminated. Joseph Meaney of Human Life International in Paris, France, says it's a barn-burner. Akkamahadevi says that though she was in the hospital, she had checked with her brother to find out if her parents had reached home safely. Official counting begins Saturday at 9 a.m. (4 a.m. ET), with the final results expected late afternoon.

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.

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The referendum, if passed, would allow abortions up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy and in limited circumstances later, where fatal fetal abnormalities are present. If a woman or a healthcare professional chooses to defy these laws, they risk criminality and up to 14 years of imprisonment.

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