Ireland's abortion referendum - BBC Newsnight

The country is set to vote on the abortion issue on Friday

Advocates for the "no" side have even secured the web address, where they encourage visitors to defend the Eighth Amendment.

Women chat in front of a Pro-Choice mural ahead of a 25th May referendum on abortion law, in Dublin, Ireland.

Ireland's referendum Friday represented more than a vote on whether to end the country's strict abortion ban. Currently, the 8th Amendment of Ireland's Constitution gives equal rights to the unborn as it does to the mother.

The Eighth Amendment was added to the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland in 1983.

Facebook and Google have both taken steps to restrict or remove ads relating to the referendum in a move created to address global concerns about social media's role in influencing political campaigns, from the US presidential race to Brexit.

What impact has it had in Ireland? "We've all known women who've felt vulnerable and lonely". I was 37. When the shock settled we were overjoyed and all went well until 24 weeks, when I was told at a scan there may be a problem with her, so we went to Dublin to get her checked.

However, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, stating that suicidal thoughts were sufficient grounds to seek an abortion elsewhere.

Anti-abortion activists say that the "Yes" camp is painting Ireland as a country that needs to modernize in the name of women's rights - a picture that independent lawmaker and leading anti-abortion campaigner Mattie McGrath says is unfair. Just two examples (there are many more) are the death of Savita Halappanavar in 2012 from sepsis after being refused an abortion during miscarriage and the case of Amanda Mellet, who was forced to travel to England to terminate a pregnancy with fatal foetal anomaly. Mr. Ryan said he was hopeful for a similar outcome on Friday.

The province's fee committee, made up of Doctors NS, physicians and the Health Department, hammered out the new billing code to adequately compensate doctors for the time involved overseeing a medical abortion using pills.

Dr Andrew O'Regan said abortion meant ending the life of a patient
Image Dr Andrew O'Regan says abortion means ending the life of a patient

At present, women in Ireland who have an abortion are punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

United Nations human rights bodies and experts have criticized South Korea's punitive restrictions on abortion and have urged the government to modify these laws. Health Minister Simon Harris told The Irish Times he would hope to be able to pass such a bill into law by the end of the year.

"There's a much younger profile to the campaigners on both sides".

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

"Vote no" group Save the Eighth in favour of keeping the amendment is receiving most of its support from the Catholic community.

What happens if the 8th amendment is repealed? In its current form, it would make abortion legal for all women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This would allow relatively free abortions, subject to consultation with a doctor. That is, if I don't suffocate first on the irony of appealing to paternalistic masculine bullshit that positions women as helpless in order to maintain the structure of paternalistic masculine bullshit that (sometimes) positions women as dead.

Doctors denied a request from her and her family to carry out a termination 17 weeks into the pregnancy even after it became inevitable she would miscarry.

Thousands of Irish emigrants, including people on both sides of the debate, are expected to travel home for the referendum, which does not allow postal votes from outside the country and requires returning voters to have been living overseas for less than 18 months.

Polls close at 10 p.m., with results expected to be announced Saturday evening.

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