The woman who became the face of Ireland’s campaign for abortion rights

Exit polls show that voters in Ireland might have just legalized abortion by a landslide

As Irish voters headed to the polls on Friday (May 25) to vote on a referendum that could rewrite the 8th amendment - which greatly restricts a woman's access to abortion - a number of prominent musicians and actors took to Twitter to urge support for the repeal. The consequent prohibition on abortion was partly lifted in 2013 for cases where the mother's life is in danger. Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, an early advocate for holding the referendum, said an "emotional, historic day" lay ahead.

Vera Rooney voted against repeal.

Voting on the eighth referendum in the Republic of Ireland will take place until 10pm.

If you've been living under a rock for the past twenty-four hours or indeed the past several months, Ireland held a referendum yesterday to consider repealing the eighth amendment and ending the constitutional ban on abortion.

Campaigning was not allowed, but Dublin was still filled with signs and banners urging citizens to vote "yes" or "no".

The main group opposing the liberalisation of Ireland's abortion law conceded on Saturday that it has lost Friday's referendum by an overwhelming margin, a spokesman said.

If the "yes" forces seeking a constitutional change prevail, Ireland's parliament will be charged with coming up with new abortion laws. Her death shook people in Ireland, men and women alike, up for widespread protests.

The contested amendment requires authorities to equally protect the right to life of a mother and that of a fetus, from the moment of conception.

It suggested the highest "Yes" vote was in Dublin, where 77 percent of voters were in favor, but there was no sharp urban/rural divide as in previous referendums on the subject, with all provincial areas backing the proposals.

That effectively bans all abortions in Ireland, except in cases when the woman's life is at risk.

The ban has led to thousands of women travelling each year to neighbouring Britain, where terminations are legal, or increasingly turning to abortion pills sold online.

Although the ballots will not be counted until Saturday, surveys conducted outside polling stations by the country's leading newspaper, The Irish Times, and its state broadcaster, RTE, agreed that close to 70 percent of the electorate had supported lifting the ban. Numerous anti-abortion signs showed photographs of foetuses. Thirty-two percent of voters opposed the repeal.

Later abortions would be allowed in special cases.

"If we vote "yes", every unborn, wanted and unwanted, will have zero rights", Killarney resident Frances Kelleher wrote. "Because it terminates human life which begins at conception, abortion can never be condoned in any circumstances", priests in the Diocese of Achonry wrote in an open letter published by the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference last week.

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