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Ireland Abortion Referendum: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Ireland Abortion Referendum: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


Ireland has voted by a landslide to lift the ban on abortion that was enshrined in its constitution for three years.

Ireland is roughly to make history by repealing some of the world’s most restrictive abortion legal rules after two key exit polls called voters in the traditionally Catholic country have chosen to alter the Constitution.

The survey released by Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE predicted that almost 70% voted in favor of repealing the Eighth Amendment to Ireland’s Constitution.  The RTE exit poll reveals 69.4% voting “yes” and 30.6percent “no.”

The Eighth Amendment, which was added to the constitution after a referendum in 1983, puts the rights of the embryo and the rights of its mother on equal footing, effectively banning abortion barring a “real and substantial risk” to the mother’s life.

An electorate of over 3.2 million were entitled to cast their ballots Friday, including tens of thousands of Irish people living overseas who’d made the journey home to vote, according to CNN.

Here is what you need to understand:-LRB-*******************************)

1. The Eighth Amendment Gives the Fetus the Same Right to Life as the Mother, Basically Banning Abortion Almost Completely in Ireland

GettyAn information poster for Republicans is exhibited at the Marlborough Street National School polling station in Dublin, Ireland on May 25, 2018, during the Irish referendum on liberalising the abortion law. — Folks in Ireland on Friday voted in a landmark referendum on whether the traditionally Catholic state should liberalise some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. (Photo by BARRY CRONIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read BARRY CRONIN/AFP/Getty Pictures )

The Eight Amendment to that the Irish Constitution acknowledges “the right to life of the unborn, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother.” Aside from a “risk of loss of life of pregnant woman,” the amendment prevents any comfort of the nation’s near-total ban on abortion.  Abortion isn’t allowed even in cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities.

Deliberately terminating a pregnancy was a criminal offense Ireland because 1861nonetheless, the modern debate began back in the 1970’s, a time when regulations regarding abortion and birth control were shifting in several areas.

The U.K. had legalized abortion up to 28 months in 1967, shortly before the historical 1973 judgment by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. The ruling basically legalized abortion in america, which alerted conservative politicians and the Catholic Church. They started an energetic campaign to present a constitutional amendment to that purpose to guarantee the Irish ban on abortion would remain in place, which culminated in a referendum in 1983. According to TIME, about 67% voted in favor of the eighth amendment at the time — the exact same amendment up for repeal this week.

“The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn,” the amendment reads, “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.”

2. The Infamous “X Case” Was a Tipping Factor in Abortion Rights, Ruling that Suicide as a Threat to that the Mothers Life, Allowing Abortions in Some Serious Cases

A Yes voter poses with a badge as votes are counted in the Irish abortion referendum, in the RDS Conference center in Dublin on May 26, 2018. — Ireland looks set to “make history” by liberalising some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar stated as votes at the hard-fought referendum were counted on May 26, 2018. (Photo by Paul FAITH / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Pictures )

After the execution of the Eighth Amendment, some groups continued to protest the ban, but it wasn’t before 1992 the abortion issue was severely revisited during Ireland’s historical “X Case.”

A 14-year old woman, known in the press just as “X,” was raped, found out she was pregnant, and determined to traveling to the U.K. to have an abortion. Her family told authorities about the strategy, to find out if they could do a DNA test after the abortion to establish the paternity of the woman’s rapist.

Rather, the young teenager was blocked from traveling overseas due to that an injunction issued by the Attorney General. The woman became suicidal, which brought the situation to Ireland’s Supreme Court. After discovering that there was a real “risk to the life of the mother,” that the Supreme Court dropped the injunction. Since that time, suicide was included when determining danger to the health and well-being of their mother.

Based to the Life Institute, “As a result of that decision, technically any pregnant woman is entitled to have an abortion (even up to 9 months – there is no time limit to the Supreme Court judgement) if she claims to be suicidal as a result of the pregnancy – an extremely difficult condition to disprove – and furthermore, she may technically have the abortion carried out in Ireland if a doctor agreed to perform it.”

Since 1992, many attempts to eliminate suicide as grounds for abortion — such as a referendum in 2002 — have failed, according to that the moment. However, the Supreme Court’s judgment didn’t make it into legislation for another 20 years after the case ended.

But, the X case did lead to some change. 2 referendums in November 1992 made it lawful to traveling abroad to seek abortions and to share information about overseas abortion services within Ireland, according to TIME. Some 170,000 girls are estimated to have traveled from Ireland for an abortion because 1980.

3. A Behavioral Survey Showed that Many Voters Made up Their Minds to Repeal Abortion Legislation Years Ago, Before the Referendum Proposition

Yes voter Keishia Taylor presents as votes are counted in the Irish referendum, in the RDS Conference center in Dublin on May 26, 2018. — Ireland looks set to “make history” by liberalising some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar stated as votes at the hard-fought referendum were counted on May 26, 2018. (Photo by Paul FAITH / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Pictures )

Colm O’Gorman, the head of Amnesty International in Ireland, which campaigned for the yes vote, stated that although expectations for Saturday’s count could be close, attitude surveys conducted in 2015 “had shown deep changes in thinking on abortion.”

The RTE poll calls for a vote of 69.4percent in favor of reform, with 30.6% against. Based to the survey, over 75% stated they hadn’t changed their mind on abortion in the last five decades, implying their support for reform had substantially predated support for the referendum which was declared two weeks ago.

A staggering 82percent of respondents said they hadn’t changed their mind on how they were moving to vote during the campaign.

“More than three-quarters said they were influenced by personal stories they heard in the media or by people they knew,” according to that the Guardian.

One of the key anti-abortion efforts has already admitted defeat.

“The unborn child no longer has a right to life recognized by the Irish state,” stated John McGuirk, from Save the 8th.

But, according to that the BBC, McGuirk pledged that “No” campaigners would last to protest, “if and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland”.

“Every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that, and make our voices known,” he added.

4. Despite a Difficult Uphill Battle for the “Yes Vote,” Activists Are Making Strides in Abortion Rights Over the Last Three DecadesNonetheless, the “No Vote” Group Has Garnered International Support from Pro-Lifers Round the World

GettyDUBLIN, IRELAND — MAY 25: The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, casts his vote at Irelands abortion referendum in Scoil Thomas Lodge polling station on May 25, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. Polling stations are available across the Ireland where voters will decide whether or not to abolish the 8th amendment making abortions illegal in the country, unless a mother’s life is at risk. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Pictures )

Pro-choice activists have had a long, uphill struggle campaigning for the “yes vote” to reform that the Eighth Amendment. Activists argue that the Eighth Amendment punishes women and does not stop abortions, as girls continue to be free to leave the country to pursue an abortion elsewhere in Europe.

However, the team was making strides toward the liberalization of the Church through the years. In June 2016, the UN’s Human Rights Council dominated the nation’s abortion regime exposed Amanda Mellet, a double Irish-American nationwide, to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” after forcing the girl to traveling to Britian to get an abortion. Had she stayed in Ireland and been forced to give birth, she would have given birth to a stillborn infant.

According to that the Guardian, Ailbhe Smyth of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment and a longtime campaigner on reproductive rights, stated: “To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time ever that the Irish government has compensated a woman for having to leave the country for an abortion. This is long overdue acknowledgement of the profound denial of women’s right to autonomy in this country.”

The Human Rights Council called on the Irish government to reform its legislation following the Mellet case. Later that year, in a similar situation, the UNHRC ordered that Ireland compensate Siobhán Whelan for injury caused to her as a consequence of the near-total ban on abortion.

According to CNN, anti-abortion activists who voted no have contended that “the Eighth Amendment has saved thousands of lives and encouraged compassionate alternatives to abortion, such as hospice care when the baby is not expected to survive or adoption for babies born to women in challenging circumstances.”

The “No” effort has also found support from anti-abortion groups worldwide, including some American activists who have traveled to talk at rallies throughout the campaign.

5. The Death of Savita Praveen Halappanavar  in 2012 Brought Global Media Care to the Nation’s Strict Abortion Legislation

GettyFloral tributes are laid in a mural to Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist, who died in 2012 due to the complications of a septic miscarriage in 17 months’ gestation, in Camden Street, Dublin, Ireland on May 26, 2018, during the Irish referendum on liberalising the abortion legislation. — Ireland looks set to “make history” by liberalising some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar stated as votes at the hard-fought referendum were counted on May 26, 2018. (Photo by BARRY CRONIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read BARRY CRONIN/AFP/Getty Pictures )

In October, 2012 Halappanavar, 31, was declared to a hospital in Galway while having a miscarriage. She asked staff to terminate her pregnancy but they refused, telling her Ireland was “a Catholic country.” She inventively died at the hospital from severe sepsis, five days after she’d started miscarrying. The situation angered many who had previously been apathetic about abortion law and reinvigorated the abortion-rights motion in Ireland.

Halappanavar became a catalyst for the historic vote that could change Ireland’s constitution. Now, over five years later Halappanavar lost her life, her dad has urged voters to repeal the clause of the constitution he says donated to her death, and legalize abortion.

“I hope the people of Ireland remember my daughter Savita on the day of the referendum, and that what happened to her won’t happen to any other family,” Andanappa Yalagi told the Guardian by telephone from his home in Karnataka, in south-west India.

He said that his daughter’s death at the time of 31 had devastated the family. “It’s still very emotional after five years. I think about her every day. She didn’t get the medical treatment she needed because of the eighth amendment. They must change the law.”

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