Over 40,000 Irish citizens are expected to return home to cast their ballot for a historic referendum this May. Article 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution, otherwise known as the eighth amendment is seeking repeal. The eighth amendment currently gives the fetus the same right to life as the mother, and has been in place since 1983, even in cases of rape, incest and fatal abnormality of the fetus, according to The Guardian.
With such a controversial issue up for vote, Irish citizens are flooding home to ensure women have the right to choose.
More than 750,000 people are Irish citizens but currently live in other countries, which is relatively large in comparison to the 4.8 million who currently reside in Ireland. However, residents who have been abroad for 18 months or less and plan to return, can vote. They must register to vote in advance and then vote in person. In response, the campaign #HometoVote has begun and many are taking to Twitter to express their support and share their travel story.
One voter tweeted, “Cost of flights from Hanoi to Dublin: 800 euro. Length of journey: 20 hours. Chance to #repealthe8th: PRICELESS." While others are tweeting their journey home is nothing in comparison to what women have to do to access safe and legal abortions.
Just starting my journey #hometovote from Sweden. All I can think of is the 10-12 women who are nervously awaiting their bus/train/flight to get to their appointment. For women in a crisis, today is a day like no other. Time for care and compassion in Ireland. Time for change.
— Ailbhe Coleman (@coleman_ailbhe) May 23, 2018
Some voters are traveling from as far as Australia to head to the polls — and one woman even cut her honeymoon short to return home for the cause.
Ready for the Ireland I deserve, you deserve, everyone who has ever faced the same journey as me alone deserves. We are not criminals, we need this, we WILL repeal this. pic.twitter.com/yRViMlZVTV
— Kate (@Bed_Forever_) May 23, 2018
The Home to Vote website provides resources and information for those ineligible to vote and is even planning to raise funds to help voters who cannot afford to travel home.