Irish Anti-Abortion Campaign Concedes It Has Lost Referendum

A poll conducted by RTE Television showed that nearly 70 percent of respondents voted to repeal the abortion ban, and another poll for The Irish Times was similar - showing 68 percent of those surveyed voted for repealing the eight amendment, against 32 percent who said abortions should still be banned in the country.

Tara Flynn, who 11 years ago flew to the Netherlands for an abortion she could not get at home, said she planned to vote "yes" to make sure future generations of women don't endure what she did.

The count will begin at 9:00am (0800 GMT) on Saturday, with the result expected to be announced at Dublin Castle later in the day. "I obviously would have preferred if they had come down on the other", said John McGuirk, the communications director for the "Save the 8th" campaign, in comments to national broadcaster RTE.

Vera Rooney voted against repeal.

If confirmed by the official tally, the large margin of victory predicted by the exit polls would greatly strengthen the government's hand when dealing with abortion opponents in parliament.

A woman arrives to vote as Ireland holds a referendum on liberalizing its law on abortion, in Dublin, Ireland, May 25, 2018.

The law on abortion is enshrined in the country's constitution, which can be changed only by referendum.

The hundreds of notes showed overwhelming support for repeal - but foreign visitors can't vote, so the display does not offer much guidance on what the actual results will be.

"The 8th amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child - it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, has always existed, and will always exist".

Between 12 and 24 weeks, abortion will be available only in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, a risk to a woman's life or a risk of serious harm to the health of the mother.

With #Repealthe8th trending on Twitter, cases like Savita Halappanavar still fresh in people's minds and thousands of ex-pats returning to Ireland to cast their ballot in the landmark decision, many are anticipating victory for the Yes campaign, but others are also wary of the "silent No" vote. As a result, thousands of Irish women make the trip overseas, often to England, to have an abortion.

Effectively, that means abortion is banned in Ireland unless the pregnancy poses a real and substantial risk to the mother's life.

Three separate referendums were held in November of the same year: the 12th Amendment attempted to remove suicide as grounds for abortion, but this was defeated. Numerous anti-abortion signs showed photographs of foetuses.

Later abortions would be allowed in special cases.

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Leo Varadkar accused campaigners opposing a referendum on liberalising Ireland's abortion regime of trying to dupe voters.