This morning Irish people are waking up to the news that, according to exit polls, the majority of voters in the divisive abortion referendum voted yes, a vote to repeal Ireland’s strict abortion laws. The official result will be known in a few hours.
The RTÉ poll projected a Yes vote of 69.4% with a No vote of 30.6%. The Irish Times poll projects a similar result.
In Ireland, campaigners from the Yes campaign are already celebrating. If the polls are correct, an emphatic yes vote will be result of decades of campaigning in Ireland. The controversial Eighth Amendment equates the life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or foetus and means abortion is illegal in Ireland, even where the pregnancy places a woman’s health at serious risk, in cases of rape or incest, or where the foetus is likely to die before or shortly after birth.
International human rights organizations have challenged the Irish State in the past for its draconian abortion regime, saying the Eighth Amendment violates women’s right to bodily integrity and self-determination. Yet, the expected landslide result is very much the work of a homegrown campaign that tirelessly fought for women’s right to choose.
Because of Ireland’s laws, at present, nine women and girls leave Ireland every day to have a termination in the U.K. A further three order abortion pills online. A Yes vote of this size will be seen as the beginning of the end to the stigma, secrecy, and shame surrounding abortion in Ireland.
The exit polls show that young people in Ireland are overwhelmingly in favor of change. The referendum is already being hailed as another sign of societal shift in Ireland (back in May 2015, the Irish people voted to approve same-sex marriage).
Seismic, stunning, and historic are some of the words being used to describe the predicted results. Voter turnout hit an estimated 70% in some areas and the size of the mandate from the Irish public for change should prove important when it comes to drafting new legislation. Polls closed at 10 p.m. last night, counting began at 9 a.m. this morning, and the official result will be know by lunchtime.
The role of social media in the campaigns for both a Yes has been crucial and today, #repealthe8th, #táformná (Irish for yesforwomen), and #togetherforyes are all trending on Twitter, where people have been sharing their stories. The hashtag #repealed is also beginning to trend.
Here’s a flavor of what people are tweeting about…
— Laura Byrne (@LolsyByrne) May 26, 2018
50% – Divorce referendum – 1995
62% – Marriage equality – 2015
68% – Repeal the 8th – 2018
The slow disintegration of the church’s grip on Ireland.
— David Gibney (@davegibney) May 25, 2018
Amnesty International director Colm O Gorman: I’ve heard people say we are living in the Ireland we always dreamed of. I would say we’re living in the Ireland we always were. #iestaff #8thref #repealthe8th #savethe8th via @Ocionnaith
— Irish Examiner (@irishexaminer) May 26, 2018
— HannahmDeasy (@hannahmdeasy) May 25, 2018
If that exit poll is true a gang of young women in black jumpers with clipboards and leaflets just kicked the absolute snot out of the biggest gang of bullies and thugs since the Tans. #Referendum2018 #Together4YES #repealtheeight
— Justin Moran (@moranjustin) May 25, 2018
Having a drink with Matt tonight, he’s my 91 year old father in law. Hadn’t really asked him about #8thref until we had all voted as he is a daily mass goer.
“I thought a lot Sam. I went for #YES. Our girls shouldn’t be sent away” #proud #IVotedYes #Together4Yes pic.twitter.com/ZOWNmNRE0f
— Samantha Long (@SamanthaELong) May 25, 2018
Got my nails done @TropicalPopical today especially. Because I knew it. I knew. Irish people are not callous. Irish people are kind. ☘️ #repealth8th #repealed #wefacethislandslide pic.twitter.com/C8GbgMGvqv
— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) May 25, 2018
*This story will be updated as the results are counted.
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