As Ireland Votes on Abortion, Here’s What You Need to Know

Ireland’s Main Anti Abortion Campaign Concedes Defeat

If the "yes" forces seeking a constitutional change prevail as the polls suggest, Ireland's parliament will be charged with coming up with new abortion laws.

The vote will decide whether to repeal a part of the constitution, known as the Eighth Amendment, which effectively bans terminations in the country.

The RTE exit poll of 3,779 voters predicts support for the "yes" vote in urban areas to be about 72 per cent, with rural support at about 63 per cent.

If the exit poll numbers hold up, the victory will be of a larger magnitude than "yes" activists had believed possible.

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.

Irish law now recognises equal rights to life for a mother and for an unborn child, making abortion illegal except in cases where the woman's life is at risk.

In 2013, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was passed which clearly defined what a legal abortion meant.

One person understands the power of the gay community rallying together to socially empower women.

The UN Human Rights Committee has been calling for an end to Ireland's near-total abortion ban for long, but it was the case of an India-origin woman that sparked a rebellion.

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"For Ireland, it's hope for the future", she said of the referendum.

If these are correct then the state is set to scrap the constitutional ban on terminations and allow free access to abortion for the first time.

"I felt like I just would've regretted not having had a say in this referendum".

Abortion is banned in all circumstances in Malta, and in Poland and Cyprus it is only permitted in cases of grave risk to the health of the mother, fatal foetal abnormality, rape and incest. It would also likely end the need for thousands of Irish women to travel overseas - mostly to neighbouring Britain - for abortions.

A woman arrives to vote as Ireland holds a referendum on liberalizing its law on abortion, in Dublin, Ireland, May 25, 2018.

Marie O'Donnell votes in the historic referendum (Picture: PA) Lorraine Curtin and Petrina Conmee travelled all the way from Portugal to vote in the referendum. Numerous anti-abortion signs showed photographs of foetuses.

While not on the ballot paper, much of the campaign has focused on the legislation Varadkar intends to bring forward if the referendum is carried, which calls for terminations with no restrictions to be allowed up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

Irish Prime Minister Prime Minister Leo Varadkar urged voters Friday to vote for the repeal and remove the country's "legacy of shame". The vote was fiercely opposed by Catholic Church, which views life as beginning at conception and equates abortion to murder.

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