Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Ireland votes to legalise abortion in landslide ‘Yes’ victory: exit polls

Ireland votes to legalise abortion in landslide ‘Yes’ victory: exit polls

RTE's exit poll showed that 69 percent of people said they voted in favour of repealing the eighth amendment, while the Irish Times" poll showed 68 percent voted "Yes'.

The result will be the latest milestone on a path of change for a country which only legalized divorce by a razor-thin majority in 1995, before becoming the first in the world to adopt gay marriage by popular vote three years ago.

After that, abortions will only be allowed until the 24th week of pregnancy if there is a risk to a woman's life, or a risk of serious harm to the physical or mental health of a woman. Those who don't have the means to travel sometimes find other ways to have abortions, albeit unsafely and illegally.

The eighth amendment requires authorities to treat a fetus and its mother as equals under the law, effectively banning abortions.

Along with the pro-choice protesters, there are many in Ireland who are in favour of the anti-abortion laws, i.e., they are pro-life.

Voting has already taken place on Ireland's remote islands so that paper ballots can be taken to the mainland and counted in time. The vote will only lead to the removal of Eighth Amendment from the Ireland's constitution.

Counting began at 09:00 local time and the confirmed result is expected by Saturday evening.

There have been six referendums on the matter of abortion in the past 35 years in Ireland, and the issue has long divided the country.

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The vote was held on Friday.

Some Irish citizens had travelled from as far as Tokyo and Australia to cast their votes.

A subsequent referendum made it legal for women to travel to have abortions, and for information about abortions to be provided (previous to this, ads for abortion providers had been cut out of the pages of United Kingdom women's magazines that were imported into Ireland) but the ban on abortion was not rolled back.

The heated, emotional campaign saw limits placed on social media advertisements nationwide, with Facebook and Google banning campaign ads after concerns from experts that some campaign ads were funded by us based anti-abortion groups.

Hozier also weighed in, reminding voters to go the polls today. People in the countryside and small towns tend to be more conservative and more religious. But in other cases, a doctor can face prosecution and up to 14 years in jail.

Anti-abortion rights groups say they are protecting the foetus through their opposition. It would also likely end the need for thousands of Irish women to travel overseas - mostly to neighbouring Britain - for abortions.

The Irish government's push to liberalize the laws is in contrast to the United States, where abortion has always been legal, but President Donald Trump backs stripping federal funding from women's health care clinics that offer abortions.

"The fact that it's illegal for somebody in Ireland to seek medical treatment, having to travel outside the country and to feel that guilt, shame and isolation, it's absolutely shocking", said Belinda Nugent, 43, a community activist voting in north Dublin.

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