Ireland's Divisive Abortion Referendum (in Photos) - Pacific Standard

Ireland's Divisive Abortion Referendum (in Photos)

Irish voters will decide abortion rights for women in a predominantly Catholic country.
Author:
Publish date:

On Friday evening, Ireland went to the polls for a referendum to decide whether or not to abolish the Eighth Amendment, which makes abortions illegal in the country. As of the time this was posted, final results have not coming in.

The Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution recognizes the equal right to life of the unborn fetus and the mother. Abortion is illegal unless there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, and a woman convicted of having an illegal termination faces 14 years imprisonment.

In the divisive referendum, voters in the "No" camp believe they are defending the right of the unborn child, and the "Yes" camp believe they are defending the right of a woman to make what is often a very difficult decision.

Currently, 78 percent of the Irish population is Catholic, and members of the Catholic church hope that their congregations will vote "no." Meanwhile, thousands of Irish citizens from around the world who have been away for less than 18 months are coming home to vote, as they remain eligible to vote at their former local polling station.

Voters across Ireland took to the streets in the days preceding the election to promote their views and urge both men and women to get to the polls on Friday.

section-break
Presiding Officer Carmel McBride and Garda Alan Gallagher carry the polling box for the referendum on liberalizing abortion law a day early onto the Donegal coastal island of Inishbofin, Ireland, on May 24th, 2018.

Presiding Officer Carmel McBride and Garda Alan Gallagher carry the polling box for the referendum on liberalizing abortion law a day early onto the Donegal coastal island of Inishbofin, Ireland, on May 24th, 2018. 

Maureen Ui Fhearraigh casts her ballot paper as voting takes place a day earlier than on the mainland, on May 24th, 2018, in Gola Island, Ireland.

Maureen Ui Fhearraigh casts her ballot paper as voting takes place a day earlier than on the mainland, on May 24th, 2018, in Gola Island, Ireland. 

Members of the public hold "no" placards on Fairview road as the country heads to polling stations on May 25th, 2018, in Dublin, Ireland.

Members of the public hold "no" placards on Fairview road as the country heads to polling stations on May 25th, 2018, in Dublin, Ireland. 

Members of the public hold "yes" placards on Fairview road as the country heads to polling stations.

Members of the public hold "yes" placards on Fairview road as the country heads to polling stations.

Father Tom Harrington poses for a photograph as he leaves a polling station after voting in the Irish abortion referendum, in Knock, northwest Ireland, on May 25th, 2018.

Father Tom Harrington poses for a photograph as he leaves a polling station after voting in the Irish abortion referendum, in Knock, northwest Ireland, on May 25th, 2018. 

Niamh Gavin casts her vote as she holds her daughter Fiadh, aged five months, at a polling station on May 25th, 2018, in Athlone, Ireland.

Niamh Gavin casts her vote as she holds her daughter Fiadh, aged five months, at a polling station on May 25th, 2018, in Athlone, Ireland. 

section-break

MORE FROM PACIFIC STANDARD ON IRELAND:

Related