The results of the voting on the Twenty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy) Bill, 2001 - that’s the abortion referendum to you and me - are currently being counted in Ireland today, and the result should be known sometime after lunch. It’s a tricky one, this one, and it looks like it’s going to be quite a closely run race.
The main question centres around whether or not the unborn has an equal right to life as the mother, and among other changes to the Constitution, it threatens up to 12 years’ imprisonment for “anyone aiding or procuring an abortion”, and the threat of suicide, based on the X case, will be removed as a ground for abortion.
The “simple” Yes or No choice has been truly scrambled in the last few weeks as campaigning from both sides got swamped by too much hyperbole, and people seem to be very confused as to which way to vote, even if they know where they stand on the issue. Throughout the voting yesterday, many people registered complaints about the strategic placing of Bibles around the polling stations - another ridiculous example of an Irish solution to an Irish problem.
That said, I’m keeping a very close eye on the news reports today. My favourite quote so far - and also one which sums up nicely to confusion surrounding this farce of a referendum - came from ireland.com this morning:
"This government is totally unscrupulous. It would say anything to get you to vote their way," said Ms Sile O'Reilly (60) who voted no because, she said, "you couldn't get me to say yes to abortion no matter how you dressed it up".