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SUs are offering travel bursaries to help Irish students go home and vote in today's abortion referendum

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Student unions are helping fund student travel back to Ireland to vote in the today's abortion referendum.

The Irish constitution’s eighth amendment prohibits professionals from regulating abortion. It states that both the mother and fetus have equal rights to life.

Today, May 25th, Ireland is holding a referendum on whether or not to repeal the amendment. Ireland has some of the strictest abortion laws in the European Union.

If a majority vote to repeal the amendment, then professionals would have more power to perform abortions. A no vote would keep the country’s laws as they are.

Irish voters must return to the country in person to vote as absentee and proxy votes are not allowed.

Several student unions, including Cambridge, Oxford, Sussex, Goldsmiths and Nottingham SUs are offering to fund travel to Ireland. The National Union of Students is aiding students with financial support as part of the Home to Vote campaign

The University of Nottingham is offering up to £110 of the travel bursary to return to Ireland and vote.

The University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students has also worked to ensure Irish students have the money to go home to vote.

A statement from the Birmingham Guild confirmed the news:

“Working with the University of Birmingham’s Women’s Association, the Guild has established a bursary which will be supported by NUS to assist Irish students to participate in this Friday’s abortion referendum. The bursary supports Irish students with travel costs with the aim of supporting students’ participation in democratic processes at a national level.”

However, some of the funding efforts have come under criticism for limiting funding only to people who pledge to vote yes.

However, not all the institutions have earmarked the money in this way, and much of it is available to students regardless of which way the student intends to vote.  

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