People from all over the world are traveling from their home countries to Ireland – to vote in a landmark referendum on the Eighth Amendment tomorrow.
The amendment to the Irish constitution brought in over 40 years ago makes abortion illegal. It protects the rights of the unborn child and the mother.
It is only legal to have an abortion in Ireland if the mother’s health is at risk. This leads many pregnant women to buy illegal pills online or to travel abroad for abortions.
The country will vote on whether to appeal the amendment to the constitution tomorrow and some in the islands around the country have already cast their ballot.
The last time the majority Catholic country had a national referendum and went ‘#HomeToVote,’ the viral hashtag trending once again today. The referendum was a worldwide first, and Ireland voted to introduce same-sex marriage.
Irish voting laws allow expats to vote in the referendum, as long as they are in the country on the day of the vote.
Hundreds of people around the world are going to great lengths, traveling to Ireland just to cast their vote.
Once again they are using the hashtag #HomeToVote to express their support. Tweets show people traveling from as far as Ireland, Australia, Japan, Costa Rica, Thailand and beyond.
Irish drag queen Panti Bliss says she is having ‘Oprah levels’ of emotions reading the tweets:
I don't normally believe in having feelings. No good comes from them! And I don't endorse them in others either.
But, about ten tweets into #HometoVote and I'm having an Oprah level event pic.twitter.com/PayqqyHvMn
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) May 23, 2018
The gay Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar is supporting the repeal.
He has begun his final campaigning with ‘guarded optimism’ that voters will support his stance, voting ‘Yes on Friday’ for all the women in his life.
Posting on Twitter that his vote is for his mum, sisters and my female friends, he says: ‘I think they all deserve safe & compassionate care here at home.’
Pride in Dublin is also supporting the repeal, telling Gay Star News:
‘Like in 2015 with the marriage referendum the #hometovote movement is proof of the enduring compassion of Irish people. No sea can keep us from supporting the people who need us.
‘May everyone who can find themselves pregnant have the same moment of relief on Saturday as we did in 2015.’
What is the Eighth Amendment?
The Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution in 1983 added a section recognizing the equal right to life of both the mother and the unborn child.
Abortion was already a criminal penalty in Ireland since 1861.
But the amendment also opened up the restrictions on abortion. Allowing, for the first time, legal abortion in circumstances where the life of a pregnant woman was at risk.
That change in the constitution was approved by referendum on 7 September 1983, coming into law one month later on 7 October 1983.
The referendum is about abortion ‘choice’
That’s also the title of LBQ YouTuber Melanie Murphy’s award-winning mini-documentary about the 8th Amendment.
Posting to Twitter, Melanie who fully supports the ‘repeal the 8th’ movement yesterday she says:
‘Over 18s voting in the Irish referendum on Friday, remember: You’re voting on behalf of all the teens as young as 12.
‘They are unable to vote. But they can fall pregnant through rape, poverty/lack of access to contraception and/or poor education – to make the right decision.’
Her moving short film explores the impact of unplanned pregnancy on an Irish family. It brings together a clash of pro-life and pro-choice views.
It film won the YouTube ‘Buffer’ award for Excellence in Cultural Experience in 2017, reports Ten Eighty UK: