Voting has begun in the Irish abortion referendum, which seeks to remove the constitutional ban on abortion. The 8th amendment to the Irish constitution gives an equal right to life to the mother and the fetus, meaning pregnancies cannot be terminated even in cases of rape, incest, or fatal fetal abnormality. Some 3,000 Irish women annually travel to the U.K. for abortions or take unregulated abortion pills sourced on the internet. All major political parties are backing the change and the measure is expected to pass, however polls have narrowed in recent days. The government has said that in the event of a Yes vote, unrestricted access to abortion will be available up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy, and in more limited circumstances thereafter. Counting begins at 9 a.m. local time Saturday.
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