Ireland Votes Yes To Legal Abortion, Reversing Constitutional Clause

Photo by BARRY CRONIN/AFP/Getty Images
The people of Ireland voted in a historic referendum Friday to repeal a constitutional clause that created one of the world's worst anti-abortion regimes by giving a fetus the same rights as a woman.
With 80% of the vote counted, 67.6% voted Yes in favor of repealing the constitutional clause, the Eighth Amendment, in a landslide win. The Save the 8th campaign supporting the No vote conceded defeat earlier, with #Repealedthe8th trending worldwide.
The controversial Eighth Amendment, voted into the Irish Constitution in 1983, equates the life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or fetus 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 fetus is likely to die before or shortly after birth.
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Friday's referendum will replace the amendment with: "Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies."
In a statement, Latanya Mapp Frett, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Global commended the results. "With this vote, Ireland has shown the world the need for compassion and a rejection of the outdated belief that a woman should be forced through pregnancy against her consent," she said. "Planned Parenthood stands with the Irish Family Planning Association and the women of Ireland, and we congratulate them on this historic victory for women’s health and rights."
As a result of the original amendment, nine women and girls leave Ireland every day to have a termination in the U.K. while a further three order abortion pills online, according to the U.K. Department of Health. The cost to access abortion services could go up in some cases to $2,600, making it inaccessible for working class women.
Nearly 1.4 million Irish citizens currently live abroad. Those who are eligible to vote in their home country — about 40,000 — must do so in person, which led to hundreds of Irish people across the world traveling back home to participate in Friday's referendum and sharing their experiences on social media via the hashtag #HomeToVote.
The repeal has paved the way for a new bill allowing abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, without restrictions. Exceptions are would be available after that time frame: pregnant people with serious health conditions would be able to seek an abortion up until 24 weeks of pregnancy, and those with life-threatening conditions or facing fatal fetal abnormalities would have the option to terminate the pregnancy after that period on a case-by-case basis. No healthcare provider will have to necessarily offer abortions, either. The legislation allows them to consciously object to the procedure.
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The role of social media in the campaigns for both a Yes has been crucial and today, #Repealedthe8th, #TáForMná (Irish for #YesForWomen), and #Together4Yes are all trending on Twitter, where people have been sharing their stories.
Here's a flavor of what people are tweeting about.
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