Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to repeal its ban on abortion in a referendum the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar described as a “quiet revolution.”
The result was a landslide 66.4% ‘yes’ vote against 33.6% who voted ‘no’.
Voters were asked if they wished to scrap the eighth amendment, which gives an unborn child equal rights to life as a pregnant mother.
Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman’s life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality.
Only one constituency- Donegal- voted against repealing the bill. 51.9% voted against the change.
“A quiet revolution”
Varadkar, who campaigned to repeal the laws, had called the vote a once-in-a-generation chance.
“What we see is the culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland over the last couple of decades,” said Varadkar to journalists in Dublin, who became Ireland’s first openly gay prime minister last year.
Over two million people showed up to the polls on Friday, voter turnout reached 64%, which is one of the highest for a referendum in Ireland.
Voters backed the ban by two-to-one, a far higher margin than any opinion poll in the run-up to the vote had predicted. The result allows the government to bring in legislation by the end of the year.
Amnesty International, the rights group, welcomed the referendum result as “a victory for equality, for dignity, for respect and compassion.”