Heading #HomeToVote To #RepealThe8th

Photo Credit: London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign

Editors Note: According to a November, 2016 article on Irish Central, "New York has the most concentrated Irish American population." This editor could not find current stats in time for publication.


Photo Credit: London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced a vote on Ireland’s abortion laws should be held by the end of May. If you’re an Irish citizen living away from home, then you may be eligible to take part.

You need to have been living outside of Ireland for less than 18 months and intend to return within that timeframe. There is no postal vote from abroad, so if you are eligible and want to have your say, you will need to travel home to do so. More details at .

'Fresh off the boat'

In May 2015, we saw thousands of people return home to support the vote for marriage equality. We want to emulate that movement.

No-one under the age of 50 has had their say on the Eighth Amendment, which effectively bans abortion in almost all circumstances, even in cases of rape or fatal foetal abnormality.

Since its introduction in 1983, more than 170,000 women have had to make the journey to Britain to access abortion services. It’s estimated at least 1,000 people a year order abortion pills online.

In May, we'll have a chance to repeal this archaic law and allow the government to legislate on abortion provision. We can finally help to bring about a society which provides compassionate healthcare for all our women. Every vote matters.

Mary Jane Fox, who recently moved to the UK, has already pledged to make the journey home.

"Even though I’m fresh off the boat in London, I’ll be making the journey and encouraging everyone I know to go back too.," says Fox, "It’s ironic that so many Irish women are forced to make the same trip in reverse to have an abortion. I want to travel home to make sure this comes to an end."

'Bigger than the marriage equality referendum'

Dr Jennifer Kavanagh, Law Lecturer at Waterford Institute of Technology says:

"The Home to Vote campaign is a great initiative to make Irish voters living abroad aware of their rights to vote on the upcoming repeal the eight referendum. Irish people who are living abroad are eligible to vote for a period of 18 months after leaving Ireland if they intend to come back to Ireland. Considering that the 8th Amendment has affected people for the past 34 years, it is important that anyone that intends to come back to Ireland to live can express their opinion on this issue. The impact of Irish people living abroad on the forthcoming referendum will probably be bigger than the marriage equality referendum. It is essential that everyone has their say on this matter, and informing those that live abroad of their franchise and exercising  their voting rights will have a big impact on the overall vote."

We’re pleased that Leo Varadkar is also standing with the women of Ireland by acknowledging that the country has to stop exporting this issue and stop importing solutions. The question is simple - do we reform our abortion laws or do we leave them as they are? For every woman who has been forced to travel, for every family that has suffered and for our sisters, friends and daughters, we urge you to go for repeal. Be part of an Ireland that listens to and trusts women.

For further information visit .