Landslide to lift Irish abortion ban

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A poll by the Irish Times suggest a victory for "yes" by a margin of 68 percent to 32 percent, according to a random sample of 4000 voters.

People in Ireland voted on Friday in a landmark referendum on whether the traditionally Catholic country should liberalise some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Back then, 67% of voters had supported a constitutional ban on abortion.

The referendum Friday will decide whether the eighth amendment of the constitution is repealed, which would open the way for more liberal legislation.

"The conversation that has resulted in me going to the ballot box to vote "Yes" with certainty hasn't been a straightforward one", deputy prime minister Simon Coveney wrote in the Irish Independent newspaper on Thursday.

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".

"So many women have travelled across to England to take care of their family and healthcare needs and I think it's a disgrace and it needs to change", said "Yes" voter Sophie O'Gara, 28, referring to women who travel to Britain for abortions. The build-up has seen heated campaigning in the Catholic country. It is quite likely that if the Eighth Amendment is repealed there will be hardly any doctors willing to carry out abortions; no doubt that would prompt another campaign to remove their "right to choose".

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

It suggested the highest "Yes" vote was in Dublin, where 77 percent of voters were in favor, but there was no sharp urban/rural divide as in previous referendums on the subject, with all provincial areas backing the proposals. I hope that today Ireland will vote yes for that freedom.

Campaigning was not allowed on Friday, but Dublin was still filled with signs and banners urging citizens to vote "yes" or "no".

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Currently, the constitution's 8th amendment, established in 1983, says an "unborn child" has the same rights as its mother.

After twelve weeks, If there is a risk to a woman's life or of serious harm to her health, two medical practitioners will be asked to determine if an abortion should be permitted.

The Ireland abortion referendum exit poll results will be announced on the Irish talk show The Late Late Show and RTÉ's David McCullagh will reveal what the people interviewed after they voted for or against repealing the Eighth Amendment.

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

"I feel like I've waited all of my adult life to have a say on this", she said.

As per 1983 amendment, anyone terminating a pregnancy in Ireland could face 14 years in jail.

Women accessing illegal abortions can receive a maximum 14-year jail sentence, but the law allows them to travel overseas for an abortion, resulting in several thousand Irish women travelling to the United Kingdom each year to terminate their pregnancies.

This has meant thousands of pregnant women have been forced to leave their home country at considerable expense to get safe abortions elsewhere.