With less than a day to go until Ireland's historic referendum on whether or not to repeal the country's Eighth Amendment — which gives a woman and a fetus equal right to life, effectively outlawing abortion — emotions are running high on both sides of the argument.
The stakes are high and in recent days Irish people have been traveling home from all over the world to cast their votes, taking to social media to document their journeys and reasoning via the #HomeToVote hashtag.
People planning on voting to repeal the amendment have been particularly vocal in sharing their accounts, with many traveling halfway across the world to make their voices heard. They're coming home to Ireland from as far as the United States, Argentina, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Vietnam.
I'm coming #HomeToVote ! Will be traveling 5,169 miles from LA to Dublin and will be thinking of every Irish woman who has had to travel to access healthcare that should be available in their own country. Let's do this, Ireland! #repealthe8th #VoteYes pic.twitter.com/fZDxUIGrs9— Lauryn Canny (@LaurynCanny) May 23, 2018
Boarding a 13 hour flight from Buenos Aires to London. London to Dublin tomorrow. No one at airport knows what my repeal jumper means. No one here knows why I'm travelling. If this feels isolating for me, can't imagine how lonely it must be 4 her, travelling 2 the UK #HomeToVote— Ciaran Gaffney (@gaffneyciaran) May 22, 2018
1) Newcastle to Sydney Airport on 2 trains -3 hours— Steve Wilson (@Dublinactor) May 23, 2018
2)Plane to Abu Dhabi -16 hours
3) Plane to Ireland -8.5 hours
Repealing the 8th Amendment? Priceless.
(Step 1 almost complete) #Together4YES #menforyes #HomeToVote #hometoveote #repealThe8th pic.twitter.com/tsG4Bh57n2
Just started the first leg of my journey #hometovote. Taking a night bus to Tokyo, where I will fly out tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, I can find something fun to do while eagerly awaiting my chance to help #RepealTheEighth on Friday. pic.twitter.com/DpDeZziKzv— Matthew Corbally (@Corballicious) May 22, 2018
Many others are making the journey to Ireland from continental Europe, from Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
Just starting my journey #hometovote from Sweden. All I can think of is the 10-12 women who are nervously awaiting their bus/train/flight to get to their appointment. For women in a crisis, today is a day like no other. Time for care and compassion in Ireland. Time for change.— Ailbhe Coleman (@coleman_ailbhe) May 23, 2018
This is the station in Haaltert, East Flanders, Belgium. The starting point of my journey #hometovote. How did I end up here a year ago? How did I end up in the Clane of Belgium? After so many years of complaining about commuting to Dublin? Blame Tinder/Love/Tall Belgian Men. pic.twitter.com/6BFuHInMhL— Erica 4 Yes (@ericajanelee) May 24, 2018
Some social media users shared tales of the financial sacrifice they and their loved ones were making to #VoteYes, but many said it paled in comparison to the cost many Irish women (until only recently) have had to pay – in some cases up to $2,600 – to access abortion services at private clinics in England.
My lovely son is coming #hometovote. This poor student used his birthday money to buy plane ticket home. Just messaged me "we will get you to the Emerald City on Friday" ❤️ He will #voteyes with his Dad. For his sister, his Mum & women of Ireland #togetherforyes @Men4Yes— Colette Kelleher (@ColetteKelleher) May 22, 2018
The flight tomorrow nearly cost me an arm and a leg but to think that 9 women have to pay that amount and more on a daily basis makes every cent worth it, that’s why I’m coming #hometovote to Repeal and hope to God no-one has to be forced out of Ireland again.— Billie O'Gorman (@Billie_ogorman) May 24, 2018
The mass migration back to Ireland to repeal the amendment mirrors the trip many made to vote in the country's 2015 referendum that legalized same-sex marriage.
3 years ago #hometovote started and I was in Canada, homesick & heartbroken to not be able to vote in the marriage ref. I'm home now though, registered, and ready to repeal the shite out of the 8th! Fair play to everyone making their way home ❤️ #RepealTheEighth #TogetherForYes— Ciara Cox (@Ki_Ki92) May 23, 2018
Stupidly early for my flight so getting lost in the #hometovote threads. People traveling (sometimes literally) halfway across the world to support #TogetherForYes (and marriage equality before that) is just the most wonderful expression of how loving Ireland really is.— Paul James Behan (@PaulJamesBeee) May 24, 2018
I am incredibly proud to live in Ireland during the historic changes it is undergoing. We are the first country ever to approve gay marriage via nationwide #referendum We will make history once again tomorrow. And no matter what you decide, make sure you #VOTE #hometovote pic.twitter.com/CbkMLbt4Kd— Yulia Lunev (@yulia_lnv) May 24, 2018
During the Marriage Equality ref, the #HometoVote tweets for repeal filled me with so much happiness and love at the end of the referendum that was emotionally draining in the extreme. 3 years later, ye feckers have me all emotional again #TogetherForYes #sobsobsob— Drew Murphy (@drewtmurphy) May 23, 2018
If Yes prevails in the vote, the results of which will be announced late Friday evening and into Saturday morning local time, Ireland's proposed abortion bill will allow women to seek the procedure up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy. In the event of a No vote, the country's strict abortion laws will remain in place.