Irish expats flocking back home to vote for safe abortions

Published:  23 May at 6 PM
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Inspired by the hashtag ‘hometovote’, a wave of concerned Irish emigrants is arriving back in the home country to vote for safe abortions and women’s right to decide.

Ireland’s abortion referendum comes after many decades of the harshest anti-abortion laws on the planet. The admittedly controversial procedure is almost non-existent in the country even if a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, and is only permissible should the mother’s life be in danger. Every day, an average of 10 pregnant women travel to the UK to get a legal abortion, and taking abortion pills whilst in the country is punishable by a 14-year prison sentence.

The abortion act is the Eight Amendment to the Irish constitution, and has been a thorn in the Roman Catholic country’s side for many years. Women see it as an attempt to keep control of their bodies as well as a denial of the need for their reproductive health. Female Irish expats returning to vote in the hope of overturning the amendment are saying they’re unlikely to ever come home permanently should the repeal not take place.

One expat who’s arriving from the other side of the world via a collection taken up by friends and family to buy her plane ticket told the media she’s incredibly proud of the Republic as it ‘does incredible things’, but is not treating its women as equal citizens on this issue. Every woman, she added, has a right to decide what’s right for her body and her life.

According to Amnesty International, Irish expats are also unhappy about the requirement for expats to travel back home in order to vote on this crucial issue. Many in the Irish Diaspora have raised their air fares with financial help from the community as well as family, an indication of how important this moment in Irish political history is shaping up to become.
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