Ireland has voted to legalise abortion in landslide ‘Yes’ victory, exit polls show

One poll put the Yes vote at 68 per cent to 32 per cent; another put those in favour of legalising abortion at 69 per cent, compared with 31 per cent against

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 May, 2018, 7:07am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 May, 2018, 7:07am

Ireland overwhelmingly voted in favour of legalising abortion on Friday, two early exit polls show.

One exit poll, conducted for The Irish Times, said ‘Yes’ voters outnumbered their ‘No’ counterparts 68 per cent to 32 per cent.

Ireland votes in historic abortion referendum

A second poll, the RTE/Behaviour and Attitudes exit poll, said voters in favour of scrapping a 1983 law prohibiting abortion numbered 69 per cent to 31 per cent in favour of keeping it.

The Irish Times poll was carried out by pollsters Ipsos/MRBI, who questioned more than 4,500 voters in 160 polling places across Ireland. The poll’s margin of error was estimated at 1.5 per cent.

Under current law, abortion is allowed if the mother’s life is in danger. No exceptions are made in cases of rape or incest.

Emotions run high as Ireland prepares to vote on abortion ban

The referendum followed months of debate between “yes” and “no” campaigners on whether the Irish Constitution’s Eighth Amendment – which gives the mother and fetus an “equal right to life” – should be scrapped.

Voters were asked if they wanted to retain or repeal the amendment, with a reversal of the law then adding a new clause to the constitution that would empower Parliament to legislate for abortion.

Supporters of a “yes” vote said the Eighth Amendment has stopped medical teams from carrying out terminations even when the mothers’ lives are endangered.

Ireland announces referendum on abortion

More than 3.2 million people were registered to vote in the referendum, which followed repeated calls by the United Nations to bring Irish law into line with international human rights standards.