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Guild to pay for Irish students to travel home for abortion referendum

Up to £110 to help cover travel costs

The Guild of Students has announced that it will be establishing a bursary to support Irish students planning to travel home to vote in the upcoming Irish abortion referendum.

The HomeToVote bursary which has been set-up on behalf of the University of Birmingham Women and Non-Binary Association (WANBA), will provide up to £110 towards travel expenses which the Guild hopes will "enable students to participate in democracy".

On May 25th, Irish voters will be asked if they want to repeal the 8th amendment of the constitution. The 8th amendment gives a woman and the unborn child an equal right to life, which effectively bans abortion unless the mother's life is in danger.

In the case of a yes vote, the Irish government says it intends to introduce legislation that will allow abortion in all circumstances up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Illegal abortion is currently punishable by a possible 14 year prison sentence.

UoB WANBA which believes that "abortion should be legal, safe and accessible to anyone who may need it," said in a statement to The Tab that it is "important to us that Irish students are able to return home to vote so the law can be changed, since postal votes are not an option."

WANBA added that "people who need abortions are forced to travel to the UK, which for many is impossible due to financial and other access restraints, or seek unsafe and illegal abortion pills to do it at home. This can be not only physically dangerous but also emotionally and mentally distressing."

The NUS which has long campaigned for abortion reform, has set-up the #HomeToV8te campaign and has encouraged student's unions across the UK to set up travel bursaries.