Landslide support to repeal Ireland’s abortion ban

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

Irish Pro-Lifers Make Last-Ditch Appeal Before Abortion Vote

According to an exit poll released just moments after voting closed, the Irish have decided overwhelmingly to repeal the eighth amendment to their national constitution, which undergirds the strongest anti-abortion provisions in any Western country. The exit poll shows 68% voted Yes and 32% voted No.

This comes as a Monday Sky Data poll shows 47 percent of those surveyed support legalizing abortion through the first trimester of pregnancy while those against abortion number 37 percent and 11 percent remain undecided. The campaign has dominated public debate in Ireland over recent months and has forced its almost 3.5 million voters to decide if the constitutional ban on abortion should stay or go.

Although Saoirse Ronan doesn't have a Twitter account, she has been supporting the cause by recording a video in support of repealing the eighth amendment.

"At no stage has the government held out its hand to these women and said, 'How can I help you?" That said, with a result of that magnitude, clearly there was very little to be done.

These are all freedoms of choice granted to us through the fierce fights of our sisters before of us and hopefully the right to choose an abortion will join them as the latest rung on the ladder of gender equality in Ireland.

"I personally don't know if I will return to Ireland if this vote doesn't go through", she said.

"The fear of a lot of people on the No side of the campaign is that every time you take the step we are being asked to take, you change the culture of the country".

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Exit polls also indicated that women voted for the repeal of the 8th of Amendment by 72% where as men supported the repeal at 65%.

Theresa Sweeney, a repeal supporter, was one of the first to arrive at a church polling station in Dublin.

In a heartwarming trend, dozens of good Samaritans back home in Ireland have offered to sponsor strangers who otherwise can't afford to get home to vote.

In 2012, Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist living in Ireland, died after her request for an abortion was denied by a medical team, even though she was suffering a miscarriage, as her life was not deemed in danger.

Counting of votes begins on Saturday morning at 9am with an official result expected to be declared in the afternoon. Ireland has always been one of Europe's most socially conservative countries, and contraception was only fully legalized in 1985, while divorce was banned until 1995. If a woman or a healthcare professional chooses to defy these laws, they risk criminality and up to 14 years of imprisonment.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a doctor, voted in favour of repeal at Laurel Lodge in Castleknock. But this is not simply a Catholic or Christian issue, he said, since "people of all faiths and none" have come together in a broad coalition of concern, sharing the belief that "innocent human life should be protected". Varadkar wants to remove the current language on abortion, paving the way for terminations up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy and only in very limited circumstances - such as a fatal fetal abnormality - after that.

The ban has led to thousands of women travelling each year to neighbouring Britain, where terminations are legal, or increasingly turning to abortion pills sold online.

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