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Ireland divided ahead of abortion referendum

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Ireland divided ahead of abortion referendum

'Yes' and 'No' campaign posters in Dublin, Ireland
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With just days to go before Ireland votes on whether to lift its decades-old ban on abortion, the country is torn.

We have to look at what the choice entails. What are we saying we have the choice to do?

Vicky Wall 'No' campaigner in Irish abortion referendum

One local resident told the Associated Press just how heated the debate has become:

"My son's godmother and I actually had a huge falling out, we haven't spoken a year, because she's a nurse and she is voting 'yes' and I vote 'no' and I think literally... it has actually divided us, we are not speaking at all."

Ireland's strict anti-abortion law was enshrined in its constitution in 1983. No exceptions are made for rape, incest or foetal abnormality, but a later amendment does allow women to travel abroad for a termination

Amy Callahan's unborn baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a fatal brain condition. She travelled to the UK to have an abortion.

"I thought in a case where it was this severe - where there really wasn't a brain, where our baby was missing most of its brain and where the amniotic fluid would be wearing the brain down until... until she died - I really thought they could help more," Callahan says.

On their return from the UK, Callahan and her partner buried their baby's ashes in a forest because Irish law doesn't recognize the choice they made.

Vicky Wall faced a similar decision but chose to keep her baby. Liadan was delivered at 32 weeks and died soon after birth. Now Wall is campaign against repealing Ireland's anti-abortion law.

"We have to look at what the choice entails," Wall says. "What are we saying we have the choice to do? We're looking to have the choice to end a unique human life. And I don't think that choice is a reasonable choice."

The vote takes place on May 25th. If the current law is repealed, abortions will be allowed up to 12 weeks of pregnancy in most cases and up to 24 weeks if the women's health is at risk.