Almost 70 Percent of Irish Vote to Repeal 8th Amendment

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The result is that today, Ireland will vote on an amendment that would gut the abortion ban and give Parliament the right to legalize abortion up to 12 weeks.

Ireland votes on Friday in an abortion referendum that could be a milestone on a path of change in a country that, only a few decades ago, was one of Europe's most socially conservative.

The vote to repeal a constitutional ban on terminations except in cases where the mother's life is in danger was predicted to win by 68 percent to 32 percent, according to a poll of 4,000 voters conducted by Ipsos/ MRBI for the Irish Times.

In Dublin, close-to 80 percent of voters opted to Repeal.

As with the gay marriage referendum, those using the #hometovote hashtag on Twitter appeared overwhelmingly to back change. Social media feeds have filled with images of boarding passes, personal testimonials and stories of flights packed with Irish voters.

The Irish constitution's Eighth Amendment is one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the world.

"The fact that it's illegal for somebody in Ireland to seek medical treatment, having to travel outside the country and to feel that guilt, shame and isolation, it's absolutely shocking", said Belinda Nugent, 43, a community activist voting at Lourdes Parish School in north Dublin. "I am conscious that in 1983 there was only a turnout of 55%, most people made a decision to sit out and I hope that won't happen on this occasion and I am really encouraging everyone to come out and vote", he said.

Nevertheless, given the extent to which he has thrown his weight behind "yes", many observers regard this vote as a referendum partly on the popularity of his still-young tenure as premier.

Others just knew that the gays would come to campaign in style. However, the Catholic Church's influence has waned in recent years following a series of child sex abuse scandals.

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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.

Ballots will be cast at more than 6,500 stations across 40 constituencies in the Republic of Ireland.

Of the six referendums on abortion since 1983, the May 25 abortion referendum is the most important.

The ballot paper does not mention the Eighth Amendment or abortion, instead asking: "Do you approve of the proposal to amend the Constitution contained in the undermentioned Bill?"

At a press conference organized by Together for Yes, the mother of a 25-year-old woman with type-one diabetes and polycystic ovaries-who had been taking contraceptive pills, recently hospitalized with a serious illness, and told by doctors that an unplanned pregnancy could be unsafe for her-shared a story about ordering abortion pills for her daughter on the internet.

Abortion will remain illegal in the country in nearly all circumstances until Ireland's legislative body, the Oireachtas, passes a law legalizing the practice nationwide.

The official results will be announced Saturday.

And when they do, that is likely to be the final word, at least for the foreseeable future.

Under current law an Irish citizen is disqualified from voting in elections or referendums if they have lived outside the State for more than 18 months.

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