Irish voters turn out to cast ballot on country's strict abortion ban

Irish voters turn out to cast ballot on country's strict abortion ban

An opponent of the abortion clause repeal wrote: "Mama, save me, I love you".

Ireland's referendum represented a battle for the very soul of a traditionally conservative nation that has seen a wave of liberalization in recent years. They called it a once-in-a-generation opportunity to liberalize some of Europe's strictest abortion rules. A full 70% of women supported the repeal, as did 65% of men.

A campaign emerged and "pro-life" anti-abortion rights groups lobbied for constitutional protection of the "unborn".

Some have shared their own traumatic stories of having to travel overseas in order to have an abortion, while others are showing their support for women finally having autonomy over their own bodies in what is historically a deeply Catholic country.

The survey by pollster Ipsos-MRBI says 68 percent of voters backed repeal of the ban and 32 percent opposed it in Friday's referendum.

Sky's senior Ireland correspondent David Blevins said it was a wider margin than many people in the Catholic country had expected.

RTE's exit poll suggested 69.4 per cent in favour of the Yes side in the referendum and 30.6 per cent for "No".

The referendum comes three months before a visit by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families (WMF) and three years after Ireland voted to legalise same-sex marriage despite the Church's opposition. "Hopefully, our day has come", she said, outside a polling station opposite Dublin's cathedral. I'm not crying, you're crying.

People pass a mural as Ireland goes to the polls to vote in the referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution.

People arriving at polling stations on Friday in more traditional rural areas and city centres spoke about the momentousness of a morally complex decision.

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 USA based anti-abortion groups.

"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right", the current amendment states.

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.

Later abortions would be allowed in special cases.

Like other "repeal" advocates, Ms Woods seems to think that expecting a baby with a "fatal abnormality" is a good reason for abortion, but it is simply pre-birth euthanasia - killing a person because they are dying.

Thousands of Irish citizens living overseas traveled home to vote in the referendum, which did not have a postal vote option.

"Women and girls should not be made into healthcare refugees when they are in a time of crisis", said Niamh Kelly, 27, who paid 800 euros and traveled 20 hours to return home from Hanoi where she works as an English teacher.

"I hope that a Yes vote will help to lift that stigma and help to take away that legacy of shame that exists in our society", Mr Varadkar said. "Please please vote Yes this Friday". A narrow victory might have led to more limited abortion with more stringent conditions attached.

Voting has already taken place on Ireland's remote islands so that paper ballots can be taken to the mainland and counted in time.

We have the journalist documenting every unbelievable airport entry.

"I do not believe the smart people of Ireland want this unrestricted, abortion-on-demand bill".

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