Polls just closed in Ireland on a historic vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution, one of the most restrictive bans on abortion anywhere in Europe. The Eighth Amendment prohibits all abortion, starting at conception, effectively criminalizing abortion in all but the most extreme threats to the mother’s life. The results aren’t expected until late Saturday — but exit polls are projecting a landslide victory for the repeal.
The Irish Times’ exit poll projects the results will be 68–32 for repeal — a bigger margin of victory than even the most optimistic supporters of abortion rights predicted. It’s an incredible victory in a hard fought campaign for women’s right to control our own reproductive lives.
The fight doesn’t end here. Even if the Eighth Amendment is repealed, abortion won’t automatically become legal: legislators will have to pass legislation about abortion access. The proposal most likely to pass would make abortion legal for all women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and allow abortion afterwards if the mother’s health was at risk. That’s still far too restrictive — but it’s a far cry from the status quo, under which women have died because doctors refused to provide them with abortions.
Most of all, I’m ecstatic about what the polling says about what’s to come. Voters from ages 25 to 34 voted by an overwhelming 83 to 17 percent for repeal — and voters from ages 18 to 24 voted by a beautiful 87 to 13 percent to #RepealTheEighth.
Young people are demanding abortion access, in massive numbers, and we’re winning. That’s the future we’re fighting for and I can’t wait.
Here are some tweets that had me tearing up from Irish people who voted to repeal — including from the many Irish voters abroad even travelling back #hometovote:
I’m coming #HomeToVote ! Will be traveling 5,169 miles from LA to Dublin and will be thinking of every Irish woman who has had to travel to access healthcare that should be available in their own country. Let’s do this, Ireland! #repealthe8th #VoteYes pic.twitter.com/fZDxUIGrs9
— Lauryn Canny (@LaurynCanny) May 23, 2018
— Paula Kehoe (@paulamkehoe) May 24, 2018
— Sali Hughes (@salihughes) May 25, 2018
My 71 year old Iraqi father, who has Irish citizenship, has never voted for anything in his life. Today he walked down to the polling station, slowly and with a cane, with his two grown up daughters to place his YES vote. Because he trusts and believes in women #repealthe8th
— Reema (@reemahassan_) May 25, 2018
Memorial in central Dublin for Savita Halappanavar, whose death after she was denied an abortion in 2012 galvanised the Repeal movement.
Surrounded by flowers and candles today. People nearby were shaking and overwhelmed to hear of exit poll predicting a Yes victory#repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/10Jt1tTnnD
— Naomi O’Leary (@NaomiOhReally) May 25, 2018
Image Credit: Coalition to Repeal the Eighth
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