The amendment, in place since 1983, requires authorities to equally protect the right to life of a mother and that of a fetus, from the moment of conception.
Irish voters are set to liberalize one of the world's most restrictive abortion laws by a margin of 68 percent to 32 percent, an exit poll showed on Friday, following one of the highest reported turnouts for a referendum.
Vote counting in the historic Irish abortion referendum will begin on Saturday morning, with the result expected later in the day. That meant, in practice, that abortion was strictly against the law.
Voters arrive and leave St. Patrick's Boys National School polling station in Drumcondra, Dublin, to vote in the Irish referendum on liberalising abortion law on 25 May. It reached as high as 40 percent in some areas like Dublin, officials said.
The country is voting on whether to repeal the country's Eighth Amendment, which outlaws abortion by giving equal rights to the unborn. A poll by the Irish Times earlier this week gave the pro-abortion rights campaign a 12-point lead. The consequent prohibition on abortion was partly lifted in 2013 for cases where the mother's life is in danger.
And this was very much one of those situations, as the RTÉ result allowed pretty much every single person on Twitter to make the exact same joke.
If the Yes vote wins, the text of the Eighth Amendment will be changed to read: "Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies".
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Savita Halappanavar died in hospital in 2012 after being denied an abortion during a miscarriage, and in 2016, Amanda Mellet was forced to travel to England to terminate a pregnancy with a fatal foetal anomaly. Its aim was to stop Irish women having abortions. "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.
A subsequent referendum made it legal for women to travel to have abortions, and for information about abortions to be provided (previous to this, ads for abortion providers had been cut out of the pages of United Kingdom women's magazines that were imported into Ireland) but the ban on abortion was not rolled back.
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She said her vote would be one for solidarity and compassion, "a vote to say, I don't send you away anymore".
"It is a hard decision but I just feel I don't have the right to take life".
Other suggest that the depth of support for keeping the 8th Amendment isn't fully visible, because of media and cultural pressure to vote Yes. "I think the fact that we're sending people on planes and boats to other countries to deal with problems that should be dealt with at home, it's important to make that right", he said, referring to women who travel to Britain for abortions.
After twelve weeks, If there is a risk to a woman's life or of serious harm to her health, two medical practitioners will be asked to determine if an abortion should be permitted.