Irish abortion referendum: Counting starts as exit polls show landslide in favor

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Voters in Ireland are casting their ballots on Friday in a referendum to decide whether or not to repeal a constitutional amendment which would allow the country to introduce abortion legislation.

Normally, that would be a pretty weird question to ask on a Friday, but the #hometovote hashtag has had people across the world in tears.

Ireland went to polls yesterday, the counting for which will be held today.

Jim Wells, a member of Northern Ireland's socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party, said that after the vote Northern Ireland and Malta were the only parts of Europe where the unborn child was properly protected. The "X" case in 1992 involved a teenager who had been raped, who chose to travel to the obtain an abortion - and found herself being stopped by the Attorney General from leaving the country.

Galway East, in the west of Ireland, became the first constituency to declare a result, with 60.19% for Yes and 39.81% for No. Turnout was 63%. "It does feel like something historical is happening for the women in Ireland". This means that some politicians want substantial legislative restrictions on abortion. She died of blood poisoning. Her death shook people in Ireland, men and women alike, up for widespread protests.

What is the Eighth Amendment?

Since 2013, terminations have only been allowed in Ireland when the life of the mother is at risk, including from suicide.

Calling the result a culmination of a "quiet revolution" that had been gaining strength in the last 20 years, Varadkar said the large margin of victory will give his government a greater mandate when enacting new abortion legislation through parliament.

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"The people have spoken", said Varadkar, who campaigned for repealing Ireland's constitutional ban on abortions.

Many have already expressed pro-choice beliefs by rallying around Planned Parenthood, including Elizabeth Banks, America Ferrera, Julianne Moore, Sarah Silverman and Kate Walsh. Other Irish abortion advocates, like the country's lesbian minister for children, simply denied the humanity of those still in the womb. Another argument they present is that legalising abortion would lead to an increase of "feticide of those with genetic disorders". Many of these groups are supported from overseas, and they often align themselves with the Catholic Church.

In case you're not familiar with what's been going on, the Irish Twittersphere have been cataloguing their journeys home to Ireland to repeal the eighth amendment. "The right exists, independent of what a majority says".

There have been five previous votes on repealing the Eighth Amendment, all of which failed.

If there are severe risks to the mother's health or if there is a fatal abnormality to the foetus, a woman can still lawfully require an abortion after this time.

Women seeking abortion would have to be made aware of their options by a doctor, and wait three days before making a decision.

Unlike in 1983, when religion was front and centre and abortion was a taboo subject for most, the campaign was defined by women on both sides publicly describing their personal experiences of terminations.

A subsequent referendum made it legal for women to travel to have abortions, and for information about abortions to be provided (previous to this, ads for abortion providers had been cut out of the pages of United Kingdom women's magazines that were imported into Ireland) but the ban on abortion was not rolled back.