Irish abortion referendum: Exit polls suggest landslide for repeal

Polling stations across Limerick close with steady voter turnout reported

Polling stations across Limerick close with steady voter turnout reported

They called it a once-in-a-generation opportunity to liberalise some of Europe's strictest abortion rules. Hozier also weighed in, reminding voters to go the polls today.

A Yes vote result will clear the way for the Irish government to bring forward legislation that permits terminations up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

"The fact that it's illegal for somebody in Ireland to seek medical treatment, having to travel outside the country and to feel that guilt, shame and isolation, it's absolutely shocking", said Belinda Nugent, 43, a community activist voting at Lourdes Parish School in north Dublin. Those over 65 voted against the proposed change, the poll finds.

The sample size was 3,800 with a margin of error of +/- 1.6 per cent.

Although the ballots will not be counted until Saturday, surveys conducted outside polling stations by the country's leading newspaper, The Irish Times, and its state broadcaster, RTE, agreed that close to 70 percent of the electorate had supported lifting the ban.

Theresa Sweeney, a repeal supporter, was one of the first people to arrive at the North Grand Church polling station in Dublin. Joseph Meaney of Human Life International in Paris, France, says it's a barn-burner.

"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.

Nulty explained that once we deprive the unborn of the right to life, "we can no longer defend ourselves from what flows from an abortion culture", which "fundamentally alters our attitude towards disability".

"I took it really personally, this vote".

The amendment requires authorities to equally protect the right to life of a mother and that of a fetus, from the moment of conception.

A bright and young life snuffed out before her time, Savita continues to be a catalyst for an important life-altering law in a country far, far away from Belagavi. 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.

Later abortions would be allowed in special cases.

Thousands of Irish people overseas have travelled home to take part in the historic referendum, and supporters of repeal gathered at Dublin Airport to give arrivals an ecstatic welcome.

Ireland has some of the world's most restrictive abortion laws, with many women resorting to leaving the country in order to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

However, in 1992 in what is referred to as Case X, a 14-year-old girl who fell pregnant after being raped claimed to be suicidal and therefore, a risk to her life and the unborn.

Although the point at which a pregnancy is considered "viable" - that is, that the baby could potentially survive outside the womb - differs from country to country, it's most often put at 21-23 weeks, making the likelihood that Halappanavar's foetus, at just 17 weeks, would have survived birth at the point that doctors were fruitlessly attempting to save it near zero. Those living on the Atlantic islands cast their ballot a day early to help prevent delays in transportation and counting the ballot papers.

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