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Today, thousands of voters will decide whether or not to legalise abortion in Ireland.

The historic referendum proposes a repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which protects the right to life of the unborn - even if it jeopardises the life of its mother.

Over the last few weeks, the vote has galvanised activists and, in particular, women whose rights have been compromised by the archaic amendment, first introduced in 1983.

Today, the Sydney Morning Heraldhas weighed in on the referendum, reporting on the story of 31-year-old pregnant woman Savita Halappanavar, whose life was essentially cut short by the legislation.

At 17 weeks into her pregnancy, she arrived in hospital complaining of a backache and was soon admitted for an expected miscarriage.

Halappanavar was also suffering with an infection, which doctors missed, but the presence of a fetal heartbeat meant that she was given antibiotics and made to wait.

Despite the increasing risk to her life, doctors were reluctant to operate for fear of being persecuted for technically performing an illegal abortion. She died soon after; her death turned out to be a vital catalyst for the referendum.

Although extreme, this story echoes others which have been shared online by users explaining why they're voting to repeal.

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