On Friday, Ireland will vote whether or not to remove their eighth amendment to the constitution. In short, the amendment passed in 1983, means abortion is illegal in the country even in cases of rape, risk to maternal health, or if the feotus is diagnosed with a condition where it cannot live beyond the womb.
The amendment reads:
“The states acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
In other words, the foetus’ life is equal to its mothers.
The only exception to the law is if the mother is in an immediate risk of death. The change was granted in 2013 after Savita Halappanavar asked for a abortion after experiencing severe back pain and was miscarrying but the doctors refused because “Ireland is a Catholic country”. Savita died of septicaemia (septic shock).
At present, women in Ireland who have an abortion are punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Despite the penalty, alternative abortions are still a reality for many women in Ireland who risk their health by ingesting abortion pills.
If Ireland votes yes, leadership has promised to regulate abortion. The government has already published a draft legislation which would allow unrestricted abortions up to 12 weeks. If there are severe risks to the mother’s health or if there is a fatal abnormality to the foetus, a woman can still lawfully require an abortion after this time.
Come Friday, hundreds of thousands will head to the ballots to either vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to repeal the eighth amendment.
In what is such an important vote, thousands of Irish citizens living overseas are flying home to cast their vote and make a difference.
Joining forces with the hashtag #HometoVote #repealthe8th, many have taken to twitter to share their vote – many going to incredible lengths:
Just collected eldest son from Dublin Airport. In 2015 Ireland gave him his right – the right to get married.— Noeleen McHugh (@MchughNoeleen) May 23, 2018
On Friday he’ll return the favour and vote to give women the right to make decisions about their own bodies. #Together4Yes #hometovote #soproud
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
Women seeking abortions had to travel out of Ireland.
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
Was actually so humbled and relieved to meet four other Irish people on the flight from Buenos Aires to London, all of them flying onwards to Dublin today or tomorrow to #voteyes. #hometovote #together4yes— Ciaran Gaffney (@gaffneyciaran) May 23, 2018
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
So I forgot my repeal jumper when I first started my travels in January and now my mam and dad are after showing up at Dublin airport with the jumper in hand and I just ???????????????????????????????? #HomeToVote #Together4Yes #repealthe8th #VietnamToIreland pic.twitter.com/lJ7yGvg5YO— the cute hoor (@HoorayForNiamh) May 23, 2018
I'm flying home for not even 24 hours to vote for this. Anyone I've said this to hasn't called me a muppet. Or insane. They're thanking me. This is the most important referendum we may ever face. Of course I was coming home. #hometovote #RepealTheEighth #Repeal— Aoife ???????? (@PrettyPPD) May 22, 2018
A flight from Australia to Dublin is roughly 22 hours.
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
You can learn more about #HomeToVote on the National Campaign to Remove the Eighth Amendment website HERE.