Referendum to repeal the eight amendment sparks international campaign urging eligible voters to go to Ireland
PRO-CHOICE campaigners in Scotland have joined a campaign urging Irish people to return home to vote in the referendum on repealing the law which bans abortion, set to take place on 25 May.
The date for the referendum to repeal the eight amendment was finally set on Wednesday following months of deliberation, and pro-life solidarity campaigns around the world have already mobilised to launch the #HomeToVote campaign.
The campaign estimates that over 40,000 Irish people are currently living abroad, and could have a vital role to play in ensuring reproductive rights in Ireland are progressed.
Citizens living abroad who left during or after December 2016 are eligible to vote in the referendum if they are on the official register and return home to vote in person, with additional exceptions for students.
“The result of this referendum will speak volumes on how Ireland values its women and pregnant people.” Scottish Irish Abortion Rights Campaign
The Scottish Irish Abortion Rights Campaign (SIARC) has added its voice to the campaign, noting that Ireland currently has some of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world.
An SIARC spokesperson said: “We expect this to be a close, hard-fought campaign. We encourage all those eligible to vote to return home to Ireland on 25 May and remove the eight amendment from the Irish Constitution.
“We are on the brink of a turning point – the result of this referendum will speak volumes on how Ireland values its women and pregnant people.
“Abortion is illegal in almost every circumstance on the Island of Ireland and a ‘yes’ vote will ensure that Ireland can begin to provide the compassionate healthcare its citizens have needed for so long.”
According to the Repeal the Eighth campaign, an estimated 12 people in Ireland have an abortion every day, nine of whom travel to the UK to access the procedure, and three of whom take abortion pills – acts for which they risk facing a 14 year prison sentence.
The referendum marks the first time in 35 years that the people of Ireland have been given the chance to vote on abortion rights.
Cara Sanquest from the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign added: “If you’re Irish and living abroad you must not take for granted that this referendum will pass; every single Yes vote is needed, so organise a group to come together or join one through #HometoVote.
“Add your crucial Yes vote to this referendum and tell the world that Irish citizens wherever they may be, demand a fairer, better Ireland for all.”
The campaigners are calling for those who are not eligible to vote to get involved by donating to the campaign, writing to their local Teachta Dála (TD), and encouraging friends and family to vote Yes to repealing the eight amendment.
Irish citizens can visit hometovote.com for more information on voter eligibility and registration.
Picture courtesy of William Murphy
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