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  • Ireland votes on whether to repeal the constitutional amendment banning abortion.

    Ireland votes on whether to repeal the constitutional amendment banning abortion. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 May 2018

Should the Yes vote pass, it will clear the way for legislators to legalize abortion in the Catholic majority country.

Ireland has voted by a stunning margin to alter the constitution so that abortion can be legalized, exit polls for the Irish Times have shown.

The poll suggests the results will be a victory for the Yes vote, 68 percent to 32 percent. Over 4,500 voters were interviewed as they left polls on Friday, in a survey with a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percent.

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The official results are expected to be announced Saturday afternoon.

The exit poll margin is so large, however, that several leading No campaigners have already conceded defeat.

“With a result of that magnitude, clearly there was very little to be done. Thank you to every no voter and campaigner,” John McGuirk of the SaveThe8th campaign said according to The Guardian.

The region with the highest support for the repeal of the constitutional abortion ban was in Dublin, where a whopping 77 percent backed the proposal.

Even the region expected to be the stronghold of anti-abortion campaigners, Connacht-Ulster, tipped toward Yes according to the exit poll, with 59 percent voting yes to the No's 41.

Support nationwide was higher among women than men, with 70 percent of polled women expressing support, and also among younger voters, with 87 percent of those polled between ages 18 and 24 voting for a repeal.

Should the Yes vote pass as expected, it will not legalize abortion but will clear the way for legislators to pass the official legislation to do so in a country where the Constitution's Eighth Amendment places a ban on the medical procedure.

Catholic majority Ireland has quickly become more culturally liberal in recent years. Three years ago it became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote.


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