Ireland tipped to repeal abortion ban by a landslide in historic vote

Irish Women Turn Out in Droves to Repeal Constitutional Ban on Abortion

Irish Women Turn Out in Droves to Repeal Constitutional Ban on Abortion

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the exit poll projected 68% had voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment, adding: "Hope this is right".

Voting has closed on the Ireland's referendum on abortion laws - with early exit polls suggesting the country has voted to repeal the eighth amendment, which bans abortion.

After weeks of anticipation, acrimony and more than a little heated discussion, Irish voters are finally casting ballots Friday to decide a simple yet deeply divisive question: Should the country repeal a constitutional amendment that bans abortion in almost all circumstances?

Saoirse Ronan and Niall Horan have led the famous faces encouraging Ireland to legalise abortion, as the country prepares to vote in a historic referendum.

It is commonly viewed to equate the life of a pregnant woman with the foetus, effectively placing a ban on abortion.

The referendum Friday will decide whether the eighth amendment of the constitution is repealed, which would open the way for more liberal legislation. "I am conscious that in 1983 there was only a turnout of 55%, most people chose 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. That said, with a result of that magnitude, clearly there was very little to be done.

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Specifically, they are speaking out for the legalization of abortion in Ireland.

"So many women have travelled across to England to take care of their family and healthcare needs and I think it's a disgrace and it needs to change", said "Yes" voter Sophie O'Gara, 28, referring to women who travel to Britain for abortions.

Met Eireann predicts a largely sunny day across the whole country, with just a few showers.

However, the 13th and 14th Amendments, which meant that women could travel overseas to have terminations and be given information about this, were both passed and added to the constitution.

Exit polls also indicated that women voted for the repeal of the 8th of Amendment by 72% where as men supported the repeal at 65%.

A voter arrives at a polling station in Dublin.

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The referendum vote is expected to be a close contest in the largely Catholic nation.

The effective prohibition on abortion in Ireland was partially lifted in 2013 for cases when a mother's life was in danger.

Counting votes does not get underway until Saturday morning local time with a result expected by Saturday night, AEST. Last year, Ireland elected its first openly gay prime minister, Varadkar. Doctors in Ireland refused to perform an induction that would've ended Savita Halappanavar's 17-week-long pregnancy, which she was miscarrying, more quickly because the foetus still had a heartbeat when she was admitted to hospital.

"Hopefully it'll be a Yes vote", he said.

But in the small town of Kilcullen, some 50 kilometres (32 miles) southwest of Dublin, voter Sean Murphy said: "I don't see any reason to change from the position we are in at the moment".

If the amendment is removed and the issue moves to Parliament, the government proposes that terminations be allowed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Some 170,000 Irish women are believed to have traveled to the UK for abortions between 1980 and 2016, according to data from the UK Department of Health compiled by Ireland's Solidarity Party.

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