Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Ireland set to end abortion ban in landslide vote: exit polls

Ireland set to end abortion ban in landslide vote: exit polls

The poll sampled some 4,000 voters as they were leaving voting stations Friday night.

Ireland has voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment of its constitution, two major exit polls are projecting.

Irish voters went to the polls on Friday, to determine whether or not to repeal the eight amendment to their constitution, which bans abortion.

Ireland adopted the ban in 1983, but support has waned as the country has grown more liberal, legalizing divorce and gay marriage.

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.

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

Chris Garvin, a 20-year-old working in human resources in Dublin, said: "It's a very, very important matter and I think it's going to affect everybody's lives in some way".

Opponents have come out against legalizing abortion, with some pressing a vote "NO" campaign across Ireland. Ciara Grealy, 21, from Dublin, said: "I don't know see we should export women to another country to have something that should be done safely and legally here". The No side was largely backed by so-called pro-life groups - the most prominent being The Iona Institute, a socially conservative Roman Catholic advocacy group.

Activists were out on a final push for votes on Thursday, attempting to convince wavering voters in what has been an emotionally-charged campaign. She tweeted: "Based on the exit poll, a historic & great day for Ireland, & a hopeful one for Northern Ireland".

"I have found it hard, I have stumbled but I have met extraordinary women and men along the way who have changed my perspectives on this deeply emotive issue".

The vote Friday was to remove the constitutional amendment.

People over 65, however, voted mostly against overhauling the current legislation, which only allows terminations in cases where the mother's life is in danger. Joseph Meaney of Human Life International in Paris, France, says it's a barn-burner.

Yesterday, nine Irish women will have travelled to England to terminate a pregnancy. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, in favour of change, has called the referendum a "once in a generation decision".

The results of the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection for mothers and their pre-born babies, will officially be counted on Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m.

"Whether they vote in large enough numbers to help us win the referendum is an open question", he said. But in other cases, a doctor can face prosecution and up to 14 years in jail.

If the Eighth Amendment, also known as Article 40.3.3, is repealed, it is expected to be recommended that abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy be introduced without restriction.

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. Since the inception of e-commerce, Irish women have been illegally purchasing abortion pills online, of which 1,200 were seized in one year alone.

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