Campaigners make final pitches on eve of Ireland's abortion referendum

Activists from the 'Trinity Together for Yes' campaign canvass in front of Trinity College urging a 'yes' vote

The Eighth Amendment is a clause in the constitution which was written after a previous referendum on the issue in 1983 recognised the right to life of the unborn child.

"I think the "yes" vote was an anti-church vote", said Annemarie McCarrick, referring to the "yes" vote in favor of ending the constitutional ban. No more stigma. The veil of secrecy is lifted. "We are not a divided country", he said. The P.M. says the vote was the culmination of a "quiet revolution".

The Catholic Church is among influential voices arguing that the life of the unborn should be sacrosanct, but the retain campaign faces a major challenge from a Yes camp which has portrayed itself as modernising and in step with worldwide opinion.

Weeks of campaigning ahead of the abortion referendum have polarised opinion across the country.

Even in cases of rape, child sexual abuse and incest, or where fatal foetal abnormalities are present, a woman in Ireland can't access a termination unless her life is at risk.

Activists from the 'Angels for Yes' campaign near Trinity College. Artur Widak  Nur
Activists from the'Angels for Yes campaign near Trinity College. Artur Widak Nur

"This is a monumental day for women in Ireland", Orla O'Connor, co-director of the Together for Yes group, said.

Despite the country's growing diversity and liberalism - voters legalised gay marriage in a 2015 referendum - the result is expected to be close.

Although Irish women have been unhappy with the amendment since it was first introduced, it would take almost 25 years for it to be overturned.

People opposed to the law had argued that it only adds pain and burden to pregnant women, as each year an estimated 3,000 pregnant women in Ireland secretly travel to neighbouring countries for abortion. The pamphlet that includes heartbreaking stories from some of women in Ireland who've had to travel overseas to receive the healthcare they needed?

It will also debate in Parliament whether to allow abortion in specific cases when the woman is at grave risk or the foetus is likely to die in the womb or shortly after birth. For many, the victory was vindication after years of opposing the abortion ban, which required Irish authorities to defend the lives of a woman and a fetus as equals under the law from the moment of conception. "I do not believe the smart people of Ireland want this unrestricted, abortion-on-demand bill".

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Yes campaigners hailed a "resounding" victory as Ireland voted overwhelmingly to change its restrictive abortion laws. She had to go to the Supreme Court after the government blocked her from travelling to get an abortion.

Under pressure from the United Nations about alleged degrading treatment of women who travelled to England for terminations, the Irish Government began exploring the possibility of further reform, culminating in the calling of this referendum and the promise to legislate.

The result was announced at Dublin Castle, eliciting wild cheers and jubilation from women and men. Cheers broke out every time partial results were shown on two big screens transmitting the latest television news.

Ireland's Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said Saturday she is confident new abortion legislation can be approved by parliament and put in place before the end of the year.

She said her vote would be one for solidarity and compassion, "a vote to say, I don't send you away anymore". "I'm especially grateful to the women of Ireland who came forward to provide their personal testimony about the hard times that they endured, the stress and the trauma that they experienced because of the eighth amendment". Supporters of change to Ireland's draconian abortion laws were jubilant.

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Varadkar and others say this is impossible - citing advice from Ireland's Attorney General - and have accused their opponents of trying to dupe voters.

The same hashtag was used in the same-sex marriage referendum in 2016, encouraging ex-pats overseas to return to Ireland to vote.

Nicky Morgan and three other former holders of the women and equalities role - Amber Rudd, Justine Greening and Maria Miller - all back Ms Mordaunt's support for liberalising the laws in Northern Ireland, the Sunday Times reported.

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