People Are Traveling Across the World to Repeal Ireland's Abortion Ban

For some Irish people living abroad, the vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment is too important to miss.

by Leila Ettachfini
May 24 2018, 4:59pm

Left: Louise Barry (@made0fglitter) via Twitter, Right: Lauryn Canny (@LaurynCanny) via Twitter

This week, Ireland votes on whether it will repeal the Eighth Amendment, which denies women the right to an abortion in all circumstances except in cases where her life is in danger. In the run-up to this historic vote, Broadly will be giving a platform to the victims of this inhumane law and the activists fighting for change. You can follow our coverage ahead of Friday's vote here.

This Friday, Ireland is voting on whether or not to repeal the Eighth Amendment, one of the most draconian anti-abortion laws in the world, which states that a woman and her fetus have an “equal right to life.” Currently, women in Ireland are only able to receive abortions if their life is in immediate danger due to complications with their pregnancy. This means that even in cases of rape, fatal fetal abnormality, and incest, abortion is still punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

The vote has inspired a fervorous campaign that has shed light on the horrors endured by Irish women forced to live under the Eighth Amendment, like being forced to carry an unviable pregnancy to term or having to travel to a foreign country to receive an abortion.

This week, thousands of Irish people across the globe are flying home in order to vote in favor of repealing the amendment. In doing so, travelers have started a social media campaign called #HomeToVote to share their journeys and reasons for traveling from their respective locations to Ireland to vote.

Lianne Hickey is one of the Irish women currently living abroad who has chosen to fly home from London to vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment. “For me, flying home to vote is a tangible way I can show the women and girls of Ireland that I actually care about their welfare,” she wrote for Broadly in an essay recounting her decision.

She is joined by Irish people across the world: Actress Lauryn Canny tweeted that she’ll be making the 5,169 mile journey from LA to Ireland in order to vote; one woman tweeted about her journey to Ireland from Vietnam; and a man tweeted about his joy to see that others on his flight from Buenos Aires were on their way to Ireland to repeal the Eighth, to name a few.

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On Twitter, the hashtag #HomeToVote is filled not only with those traveling home but people who are either not Irish or unable to make it to Ireland in time for the vote offering to cover travel costs for those who can.

After Irish voters head to the polls on Friday, results are expected to trickle in later that night, though the final vote announcement is not expected until early Saturday morning.

Eighth Amendment