demonstrators march ahead of Ireland's scheduled May 25
referendum on whether to repeal the 8th amendment to the Irish
constitution, in Dublin, March 8, 2018. (Associated
May 25, citizens of Ireland will vote on whether to repeal the 1983
constitutional amendment recognizing the equal right to life of the
unborn and banning abortion in all cases except the health of the
mother, including potential suicide.
referendum in the predominantly Roman Catholic country will be among
the first tests of new policies by Facebook and Google to address
concerns about election meddling raised by the Cambridge Analytica
month, Facebook announced it will block ads on the referendum that
do not originate from advertisers in Ireland. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is
vowing to have tighter restrictions on data that can influence
day after Facebook’s announcement, Google said it would suspend all
ads related to the referendum until after the vote.
our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have
decided to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the
Eighth Amendment,” Google said in a statement.
is one of the few developed Western nations to have strict
of the repeal effort say the wording of the amendment does not allow
lawmakers to grant exceptions in cases of rape or other
circumstances. They argue that only by repealing this amendment can
reasonable laws be made.
groups say that if repealed, “there will be no laws to protect the
unborn at all.”
campaign slogan reads “Love Both,” promoting compassion for both
mother and child.
of the repeal spoke out against the decisions by Facebook and
joint statement by three groups -- Save The 8th, Pro Life Campaign
and the Iona Institute -- describes the tech companies' bans as “an
attempt to rig the referendum.” They claim that the internet was
“the only platform available to the NO campaign to speak to voters
directly,” adding that is “now being undermined.”
Mary McInerney, a friar at the Church of Visitation in north Dublin,
said that as a Catholic it was his obligation to protect life.
believe all life is sacred and comes from God and is a gift from
God,” he said.
addressed his congregation by saying he was aware of Catholics who
will vote "yes" to repeal the amendment, “You can’t do that and
remain a Catholic.”
average, nine Irish women a day travel to the United Kingdom for
abortion services, and four women a day smuggle abortion pills into
the country. Current Irish law carries a sentence of up to 14 years
in prison for terminating a pregnancy.
Dublin, Ireland’s capital and largest city, posters for and against
the referendum line every major thoroughfare. Lawmakers approved the
repeal amendment in March and say if the referendum passes, they
will push legislation for abortion up to 12 weeks.
are trying to gain support with headlines reading “A License to
latest polls give a slight advantage to the pro-choice, "Repeal the
and believe their success will depend on the youth turnout. The
deadline for voter registration was May 8.
Galway, a pro-choice registration booth was set up on the iconic
Shop Street, in hopes of informing and registering progressive young
rural communities such as Doolin in County Clare, the pro-life
anti-repeal sentiment holds a majority.
voters are opting to not vote at all. A 60-year-old taxi driver in
Dublin, who said he is personally against abortion, plans to stay
away from the vote. He said it was “a women’s issue, and women
should be the ones voting.”
constitutional amendments in Ireland are subject to an open vote by
has a population of roughly 4.7 million people, with 78 percent
considering themselves Catholic, according to the 2016 census.