Landslide support to repeal Ireland’s abortion ban

Irish Women Turn Out in Droves to Repeal Constitutional Ban on Abortion

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a referendum on the Eighth Amendment of the country's constitution on May 25, 2018 that bans abortion and if this is repealed, the Irish government could legislate terminations.

The count will begin at 9:00am (0800 GMT) on Saturday, with the result expected to be announced at Dublin Castle later in the day.

If the exit poll numbers hold up, the victory will be of a larger magnitude than "yes" activists had believed possible.

"If the law is passed in favour of abortion, then we would want it to be named after Savita".

Ireland's referendum represented a battle for the very soul of a traditionally conservative nation that has seen a wave of liberalisation in recent years.

Voters went to the polls after a campaign that aroused deep emotions on both sides. For opponents, it would be a betrayal of Ireland's commitment to protect the unborn.

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Ireland is one of the few countries in the European Union that does not allow those overseas to vote via post or in embassies. Those over 65 voted against the proposed change, the poll finds.

An exit poll released by The Irish Times points to 68 percent Yes to 32 percent for No. The margin of error is estimated at +/- 1.5%, the newspaper said.

Theresa Sweeney, a repeal supporter, was one of the first people to arrive at the North Grand Church polling station in Dublin.

"I feel like I've waited all of my adult life to have a say on this", she said. A woman would seek a abortion from a doctor or other medical professional, who would have a legal obligation to discuss the woman's options with her. A "culturally liberal younger generation" of repealers who are "no longer in thrall to the local priest" are driving this change, suggesting that "those who would continue to restrict our rights are the self-same sanctimonious whited sepulchres gossiping in the pews who would cast the first aspersion at a pregnancy out of marriage". One in southwest Dublin offered hugs to people who voted in favour of repealing the ban. I hope that today Ireland will vote yes for that freedom. "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 Irish government's push to liberalize the laws is in contrast to the United States, where abortion has always been legal, but U.S. President Donald Trump backs stripping federal funding from women's health-care clinics that offer abortions.

"Yes" campaigners like Coveney have argued that with over 3,000 women travelling to Britain each year for terminations and others ordering pills illegally online, abortion is already a reality in Ireland.

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If the repeal effort is successful, the government has vowed to introduce legislation later this year to establish the circumstances under which Irish women may pursue the procedure.

Later abortions would be allowed in special cases. "They can't do anything for women who have been raped, who are children themselves, or who have been given the heartbreaking news of fatal fetal abnormality", Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Friday as voting started, according to USA Today.

He said: "I always get a little buzz from voting".

The result is expected to be close after a polarising campaign, but the latest polls suggest voters are ready to overturn the ban. And Catholics are the most likely to be undecided - 15 percent answering don't know or preferring not to say, against 5 percent of those with no religion.

The issue has been widely debated in Ireland and led Google to ban all advertising related to the referendum.

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