Source: The Nation
“We’ll never go back,” say activists, as a vote to repeal the ban on abortion wins by an overwhelming margins.
The vote to repeal the amendment banning abortion was supposed to be close. That was what the polls said, and that’s how the press reported it. That was how organizers for both sides thought it would go. But when the voting was over at 10 pm on May 25, the first exit polls showed Yes had achieved an electoral tsunami, crushing No by a two-to-one margin. I was with the psychiatrist Veronica O’Keane and other Doctors for Choice when the word came down, and I swear I saw them dancing in the streets that night.
At the Tally the next day, held at the sprawling RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion, usually used for equestrian events, the excitement continued. (The Tally is an Irish democratic ritual at which local ballots, all paper, are counted in public at long tables by citizens while other citizens keep a watchful eye, and people mill about drinking coffee, meeting friends, and trying to keep track of their children.) I had to look hard to find No campaigners, and when I finally did come across a small group, they declined an interview. “I’m all out of words,” said a pleasant, well-dressed, middle-aged woman sadly.
Yes campaigners had no such problem. “I’m gobsmacked!” said Clara Fischer, whom I’d shadowed going door-to-door in Donnybrook the previous Sunday with decidedly mixed results. “Everyone is crying with relief and joy,” said a young, blue-lipsticked member of ROSA, the socialist feminist group that put on some of the cleverest publicity stunts, like dressing up as Handmaids in red cloaks and white headdresses while parading on O’Connell Bridge. “It’s feminist Christmas,” said Mairead Enright of Lawyers for Choice. “War is over if you want it.”