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Irish abortion referendum: pro or con, citizens are flying #HomeToVote

Irish abortion referendum: pro or con, citizens are flying #HomeToVote
[Photo: William Murphy/Wikimedia Commons]

Irish citizens from around the world are flying home to vote in Ireland’s abortion referendum, and many are documenting their journeys on Twitter using the #HomeToVote hashtag.

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On Friday, voters will decide whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the country’s constitution, which says a mother and her fetus have equal rights to life. If enough people vote yes to repeal, Ireland is expected to enact legislation that will allow for terminations up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy. If not, Ireland’s abortion laws—some of the strictest in the EU—will remain in place. As the BBC points out, for many Irish voters, this is the first time they have had a chance to weigh in on Ireland’s abortion laws, which have been in place since 1983.

The issue is resonating with voters, many of whom are willing to travel thousands of miles back to Ireland to register their vote. The #HomeToVote hashtag is filled with stories from men and women on both sides of the debate, but mostly among those voting to repeal. Some tweets explain why they are voting yes, some are sharing their travel tales, and others are even offering rides and to help defray the cost of traveling #HomeToVote.

Collectively, the hashtag posts offer a moving portrait of a movement, showing the magic of social media at its best as like-minded folks from around the world share stories, offer helping hands, and make their voices heard.

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