On Friday 25 May, Ireland will go to a referendum on their strict abortion laws, also known as the 8th Amendment.

The referendum date was announced by Irish Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy on Wednesday 28 March through his Twitter account with a photo of him signing the order of the referendum date.

What is the 8th Amendment?

8th Amendment - officially known as article 40.3.3 - is the Irish law that gives pregnant women and unborn fetuses equal rights to live, thus banning the termination of a pregnancy.

The amendment was legalized in 1983, creating a complete ban on abortion.

This complete ban had deathly consequences, such as the death of Savita Halappanavar (31) in 2012 whose requests for an abortion were denied even though she was going through a miscarriage. The discussions regarding the 8th Amendment was fired up after her death, the topic trending in multiple social media platforms and eventually getting discussed in the parliament, which initiated the change.

The first change to this amendment was made in 2013 when the complete ban was lifted for some exceptions. This alteration allowed terminations only in cases where the pregnancy endangered the mother's life. The abortion ban is still active in any other cases, including, but not limited to cases of sexual assault or incest, or abnormalities of the unborn fetus.This regulation is still active in Ireland today.

Currently, the termination of a pregnancy that doesn't endanger the mother's life is illegal and the maximum penalty for it is 14 years in prison.

The proposition of the new regulation allows unrestricted termination within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It also allows abortion after 12 weeks in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities and other emergencies.

Updates on campaigns and polls

Ever since the referendum date was officially announced, there have been many statements made regarding both sides.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown encouraged people to vote Retain. He stated that he supported Church of Ireland's declaration that "unrestricted access to abortion in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, or indeed at any stage, is not an ethical position we can accept." There have been pro-life marches and campaigns supporting Retain.

Repeal side also had marches and campaigns since March. Pro-choice posters were shared on many social media platforms and became trending in some of them. One of the pro-choice supporters, designer Richard Malone, took a more creative path on spreading the Repeal message, as he wrote them on a window at London's Oxford Street.

According to an opinion poll executed on 1000 adults by Red C for the Sunday Business Post, 56 percent of the people are in favor of repealing the 8th Amendment from the constitution while 26 percent support retaining the law and 18 percent remain undecided. Out of all the people participating in the opinion poll, 59 percent of the women and 54 percent of the men were in favor of repeal. The final results of the referendum will be clear on Friday 25 May.