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According to an exit poll conducted by the Irish Times/IPSOS MRBI, some 68 percent of Irish voters in Friday's referendum supported repealing the Eighth Amendment to the country's constitution, which effectively bans abortions in Ireland.

Exit polls indicate Ireland may have voted by a "landslide" to legalize abortion today. The campaign has dominated public debate in Ireland over recent months and has forced its almost 3.5 million voters to decide if the constitutional ban on abortion should stay or go.

Although polls had predicted victory for the Yes side, few anticipated the great wave of support for repeal of Eighth Amendment that swept the country. "I'm very emotional about this", she said, outside a polling station opposite Dublin's cathedral.

"Not taking anything for granted of course, but quietly confident", he said, adding that the upside of a sunny day in Ireland is that people come out to vote.

"So many women have traveled across to England to take care of their family and healthcare needs and I think it's a disgrace and it needs to change", she said, referring to women who travel to Britain for abortions.

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"I'm very hopeful because I believe we have understood in Ireland that it [the ban] is a cruelty that must end now, we've had enough", Ailbhe Smyth, the co-director of the Together for Yes pro-abortion rights campaign, told AFP news agency. Numerous anti-abortion signs showed photographs of foetuses. "No" campaigners have claimed repealing the 8th would grant "abortions on demand".

Voters on 12 remote islands in the Atlantic Ocean went to the polls a day early on Thursday to ensure the ballot boxes could be shipped or flown to count centres on the mainland in case of poor weather.

A voter arrives at a polling station in Dublin.

"I took it really personally, this vote".

The result is expected to be close after a polarising campaign, but the latest polls suggest voters are ready to overturn the ban.

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Today, Ireland will decide whether their constitution's Eighth Amendment - which provides pregnant women and unborn foetuses with an equal right to life - should be repealed in order to legalise abortion in the country for the first time. Joseph Meaney of Human Life International in Paris, France, says it's a barn-burner. Last year, Ireland elected its first openly gay prime minister, Varadkar.

But across the city, Finbar O'Regan, 50, said he wanted a "good, strong No vote".

As per 1983 amendment, anyone terminating a pregnancy in Ireland could face 14 years in jail.

The Irish government's push to liberalise the laws is in contrast to the United States, where abortion has always been legal, but President Donald Trump backs stripping federal funding from women's health care clinics that offer abortions. They correctly perceived that Ireland was gradually becoming a more secular country, and wanted to create a bulwark against the introduction of abortion that would be hard to reverse. Since the inception of e-commerce, Irish women have been illegally purchasing abortion pills online, of which 1,200 were seized in one year alone.

Draft legislation released before the referendum would allow for relatively unrestricted abortions up until 12 weeks of pregnancy, subject to consultation with a doctor and a short waiting period.

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