Ireland Holds Referendum on Abortion

Voters in Ireland are going to the polls Friday to decide whether to keep or repeal a constitutional amendment banning abortions in most cases.

The existing amendment has been in place since 1983 and originally banned all abortions before a change was made five years ago to allow abortions in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.

If voters decide in Friday’s referendum to further loosen the rules, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s government intends to put forth legislation by the end of the year allowing abortions with no restrictions up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

Recent opinion polls indicate most people surveyed favor lifting the abortion ban.

Currently thousands of women travel each year from Ireland to Britain in order to have abortions.

The counting of votes gets underway Saturday morning.

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