Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Ireland backs changing abortion laws, exit poll says

Polling stations across Limerick close with steady voter turnout reported A new tactile ballot template for voters with visual impairments
Jay Anderson | 26 May, 2018, 10:56

The RTÉ poll showed 69.4 have voted for Yes, while 30.6 per cent have voted for No.

Ireland held a referendum on the Eighth Amendment of the country's constitution on May 25, 2018 that bans abortion and if this is repealed, the Irish government could legislate terminations.

Polls closed at 10pm, and minutes later the Irish Times published a poll that projecting that "Yes" was on course to get 68 per cent of the vote, and "No" just 32 per cent.

The referendum on whether to repeal the country's strict anti-abortion law is being seen by anti-abortion activists as a last-ditch stand against what they view as a European norm of abortion-on-demand, while for pro-abortion rights advocates, it is a fundamental moment for declaring an Irish woman's right to choose. 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.

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. "I've a family myself and I think it's really important", said John Devlin, a marketing worker in his 50s voting "No" near Dublin's city center.

The referendum was the result of a decades-long debate about abortion in the Republic of Ireland and was the country's sixth vote on the issue.

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

However, the 13th and 14th Amendments, which meant that women could travel overseas to have terminations and be given information about this, were both passed and added to the constitution.




Polling stations were open until 10pm on Friday, with many rushing from airports to have their say. "How can I take the pressure off you so you don't feel so driven towards abortion?" she told AFP news agency. "Thank you to everybody who voted today - democracy can be so powerful on days like today - looks like a stunning result that will bring about a fundamental change for the better", he tweeted late on Friday night. But many are referencing the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, who lost her life due to complications of an impending miscarriage that was allowed to progress and became septic because there was a fetal heartbeat.

But across the city, Finbar O'Regan, 50, said he wanted a "good, strong No vote".

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. There have been several protests in Ireland demanding a change to the 8th Amendment which will give pregnant women the choice to terminate pregnancy.

After twelve weeks, If there is a risk to a woman's life or of serious harm to her health, two medical practitioners will be asked to determine if an abortion should be permitted.

"I'm a staunch No".

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar had warned that the referendum is a "once in a generation decision".

Draft legislation released before the referendum would allow for relatively unrestricted abortions up until 12 weeks of pregnancy, subject to consultation with a doctor and a short waiting period.

Thousands of Irish women every year cross the channel to have an abortion in the UK.

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