Irish Expats Are Going #HomeToVote In The Abortion Referendum — And Being Met By Cheers

Strangers are paying for plane tickets so that people cast their ballots.

UPDATE: More than two-thirds of Irish voters cast their ballots in favor of repealing the eight amendment.  Per the BBC, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has pledged that a new law governing abortion will be ready by the close of the year.

Irish citizens living around the world are flying #HomeToVote on May 25, the day that a historic vote on abortion is taking place.  Abortion has been illegal in Ireland since 1861, but in 1983, a campaign successfully lobbied the government to amend the Irish constitution so that it also including language restricting abortion. Now, Irish expats are returning home to vote on a referendum  that could allow the legislature to create provisions under which abortion was legal: for example, if there was a risk to the woman's life, or a medical emergency.

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Irish Twitter users are using the hashtag #HomeToVote to document their journeys home to vote for (or against) one of Europe's most restrictive abortion laws. And their stories are powerful.  On Twitter, people made it a priority to fly home from Los Angeles, Australia, and Tokyo to play a part in (maybe) changing the course of history. Strangers even worked together to cover the cost of flights for anyone who could not afford to go home and offered free rides to and from the airport to voters. 

As documented by Buzzfeed reporter Laura Silver and others on Twitter, many expats returning home to vote in the referendum have been met by cheers.

As written, the Eighth Amendment reads: "The states acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

If the amendment is repealed on May 25, Ireland will have the freedom to legislate on the termination of pregnancy..

Cover image via D. Ribeiro / Shutterstock.com.

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