Polls Project Landslide Victory for Abortion Rights in Ireland

Polls just closed in Ireland on a historic vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution, one of the most restrictive bans on abortion anywhere in Europe. The Eighth Amendment prohibits all abortion, starting at conception, effectively criminalizing abortion in all but the most extreme threats to the mother’s life. The results aren’t expected until late Saturday — but exit polls are projecting a landslide victory for the repeal. 

The Irish Times’ exit poll projects the results will be 68–32 for repeal — a bigger margin of victory than even the most optimistic supporters of abortion rights predicted. It’s an incredible victory in a hard fought campaign for women’s right to control our own reproductive lives.

The fight doesn’t end here. Even if the Eighth Amendment is repealed, abortion won’t automatically become legal: legislators will have to pass legislation about abortion access. The proposal most likely to pass would make abortion legal for all women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and allow abortion afterwards if the mother’s health was at risk. That’s still far too restrictive — but it’s a far cry from the status quo, under which women have died because doctors refused to provide them with abortions.

Most of all, I’m ecstatic about what the polling says about what’s to come. Voters from ages 25 to 34 voted by an overwhelming 83 to 17 percent for  repeal — and voters from ages 18 to 24 voted by a beautiful 87 to 13 percent to #RepealTheEighth.

Young people are demanding abortion access, in massive numbers, and we’re winning. That’s the future we’re fighting for and I can’t wait.

Here are some tweets that had me tearing up from Irish people who voted to repeal — including from the many Irish voters abroad even travelling back #hometovote:

Image Credit: Coalition to Repeal the Eighth

Sejal Singh is a columnist at Feministing, where she writes about educational equity, labor, and reproductive justice. Sejal is a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Know Your IX, a national campaign to end gender-based violence in schools, where she has led several state and federal campaigns for student survivors' civil rights. In the past, Sejal led LGBT rights campaigns for the Center for American Progress. Today, she is a student at Harvard Law School and a frequent speaker on LGBTQ rights and civil rights in schools.

Sejal Singh is a law student and columnist at Feministing, writing about educational equity, labor, and reproductive justice.

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