Irish Vote by Landslide to Repeal Abortion Ban, According to Exit Polls

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Polling stations close at 21.00 GMT and national broadcaster RTE plans to publish an exit poll at 22.30 GMT.

An exit poll released by The Irish Times points to 68 percent Yes to 32 percent for No.

Ireland adopted the ban in 1983, but support has waned as the country has grown more liberal, legalizing divorce and gay marriage.

In short - it looks likely Ireland will shortly be making abortion freely available to women.

Although Saoirse Ronan doesn't have a Twitter account, she has been supporting the cause by recording a video in support of repealing the eighth amendment.

"It's an added bonus that I get to see my family, but the referendum is the only reason I came back to be honest", she said.

Chris Garvin, a 20-year-old working in human resources in Dublin, said: "It's a very, very important matter and I think it's going to affect everybody's lives in some way".

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Another Irish Times article reported that voter turnout was extremely high, possibly higher than it was when Ireland voted to legalize same-sex "marriage".

Campaigning by pro- and anti-abortion groups has ramped up in recent weeks, dominating the news cycle in Ireland. Numerous anti-abortion signs showed photographs of fetuses. The campaign to repeal the amendment has been ongoing since its inception.

Those away for less than 18 months remain eligible to vote at their former local polling station.

"I have found it hard, I have stumbled but I have met extraordinary women and men along the way who have changed my perspectives on this deeply emotive issue".

A subsequent government investigation revealed that the ambiguity which surrounds the 8th amendment to the constitution - which only allows for abortions in cases where the life of the mother is in extreme danger - was a "materially contributory factor" in Savita's death.

As the Irish people vote today on repealing the Eighth Amendment to their constitution and so legalising abortion, Judith Woods says in the Telegraph that "repeal would allow unrestricted terminations of pregnancies for up to 12 weeks, thereby bringing it into line with every other country in Western Europe except for Northern Ireland".

"I feel like I've waited all of my adult life to have a say on this", she said.

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Official counting is due to begin on Saturday morning, with a result expected late in the afternoon.

The Yes campaign was supported by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, though neither of the largest political parties took a side in the debate, allowing individual politicians to make up their own minds.

Writing in the Times Ireland newspaper, Varadkar urged voters to put themselves in the shoes of an Irish woman dealing with a crisis pregnancy. But in other cases, a doctor can face prosecution and up to 14 years in jail.

After twelve weeks, If there is a risk to a woman's life or of serious harm to her health, two medical practitioners will be asked to determine if an abortion should be permitted.

Each year, it's estimated 3,500 Irish women travel overseas, mostly to Britain, to terminate pregnancies - and about 2,000 more illegally obtain abortion pills or administer the procedure themselves.

If the repeal effort is successful, the government has vowed to introduce legislation later this year to establish the circumstances under which Irish women may pursue the procedure.

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