Emphatic Yes victory expected from referendum count

26 May, 2018, 10:59 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Huge turnout predicted in Kildare referendum vote this Friday

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the exit poll projected 68% had voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment, adding: "Hope this is right".

Thousands of people in Ireland are celebrating after the country voted overwhelmingly to change the constitution so that abortion can be legalised.

Catherine Murphy, co-leader of the small Social Democrats party, said the polls strongly indicate "voters have taken on board the clear message that the constitutional ban harms women" and must be removed from the constitution.

The referendum Friday will decide whether the eighth amendment of the constitution is repealed, which would open the way for more liberal legislation.

She said her vote would be one for solidarity and compassion, "a vote to say, I don't send you away anymore".

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".

However, campaign group Save The 8th says politicians are "effectively seeking a licence to kill pre-born babies, and to introduce an abortion model that is in many ways even more extreme than the British regime". 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.

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"I'm very hopeful because I believe we have understood in Ireland that it [the ban] is a cruelty that must end now, we've had enough", Ailbhe Smyth, the co-director of the Together for Yes pro-abortion rights campaign, told AFP news agency. Many of these groups are supported from overseas, and they often align themselves with the Catholic Church. Of course, the exit poll may be wrong, but it is hard to imagine that it could be wrong enough to call the final result into question.

People arriving at polling stations on Friday in more traditional rural areas and city centres spoke about the momentousness of a morally complex decision. Many people voted on their way to work and sported "I voted" buttons. The turnout for Friday's vote may top the gay marriage referendum, RTE reported.

The law was tweaked in 2013 to allow terminations if the mother's life is at risk, following the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant woman originally from India who was refused an abortion.

The amendment, in place since 1983, requires authorities to equally protect the right to life of a mother and her unborn child, from the moment of conception.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who backs the reform, said he was hopeful that the ban would be abolished as he voted in Dublin.

She said her "yes" vote would be a vote for solidarity and compassion.

But as Ireland heads to the polls, there's been a swell of support from some of the country's most famous faces. Vote-counting begins at 0800 GMT on Saturday, with the first indication of results expected mid-morning. If a woman or a healthcare professional chooses to defy these laws, they risk criminality and up to 14 years of imprisonment. If the 8th is repealed, it would allow for abortion without restrictions up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy. 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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