Ireland votes to abolish constitutional ban on abortion
Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to lift a ban on abortion in a referendum over whether to abolish the eighth amendment of the nation’s constitution which explicitly prohibits terminations unless the mother’s life is at risk.
Two-thirds of voters were in favour of the repeal with a turnout of 64 per cent.
The result – which some commentators described as a “rebuke” to Catholic conservatism – prompted celebrations from pro-choice advocates. They included the group Catholics for Choice with President Jon O’Brien describing the vote as an “historic step for Ireland and women’s rights and dignity”.
But Archbishop Eamon Martin, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, said was “deeply saddened” at the result and that the country was now on the brink of legislating for a “liberal abortion regime”, according to a report from the national broadcaster RTE.
He said the referendum result had shown that “we are living in a new time and a changed culture for Ireland” and that the pro-life cause in Ireland was “now more important than ever” given the right to personal choice had been “elevated” above the right to life.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said many observers would see the results of the referendum as an indication of the “marginal role” the Irish Church now has in the formation of culture in Ireland.