23/05/2018 15:19 BST

Women Unable To Vote In Irish Abortion Referendum Urge Home Voters To #BeMyYes

'I have been waiting for this referendum all my life and I'm devastated I can’t get home to vote'.

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Pro-choice Irish women living abroad are calling on their friends and family to vote 'Yes' in the country's abortion referendum 

Irish women who cannot take part in the country’s historic abortion referendum on Friday because they live abroad are calling on friends and family back home to vote “Yes” on their behalf. 

Voters are expected to turn out in droves for the highly-charged referendum – the country’s sixth on the issue.

The vote will decide whether Ireland’s highly-restrictive eighth amendment of the constitution, which affords foetuses and pregnant mothers the same right to life, is repealed. 

However, while thousands of people from the Irish diaspora are travelling home to cast their votes in the referendum, those who have lived outside of Ireland for more than 18 months are barred from taking part. 

As a result, Irish women from around the globe hoping that abortion will legalised have been sharing messages of support and encouragement for those voting to repeal, under the banner #BeMyYes on Twitter. 

NurPhoto via Getty Images
'Yes' vote campaigners cover anti-abortion group's graphic images related to pregnancy and abortion with Irish and rainbow flags outside Irish Parliament 

Student Aisling O’Connell, wrote: “Travelling through so many airports today in my repeal jumper has me thinking of the 9 women who have to travel every day,” referencing the Irish women who travel to the UK to have an abortion.

“I won’t be home to vote & I urge anyone who is thinking about not voting or thinks this referendum will pass easily please #BeMyYes #RepealThe8th,” she continued. 

“The thought of having to make that journey alone, away from my home and family is terrifying, and I have such admiration for anyone who has been brave enough to face that, come next Friday hopefully none of us will ever have to. #HealthCareNotAirfare.” 

Audrey Bowman wrote: “I have been waiting for this referendum all my life & am devastated I can’t get #hometovote. For my fellow Irish men & women living abroad who can’t vote in this referendum. For all the Irish women travelling today, this weekend & next week to the UK for abortions #bemyyes”.