Irish Times exit poll projects Ireland has voted by landslide to change the constitution to legalize abortion

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Jim's picture

Ireland has voted by a landslide margin to repeal the eighth amendment to its constitution, opening the door to a change in the country’s restrictive abortion laws, exit polls suggest.

If the emphatic results are correct, the Irish government will be able to legislate on allowing terminations.

The historic referendum vote will be decided by a margin of 68 per cent to 32, an Ipsos/MRBI survey predicted. An RTE exit put the Yes campaign’s lead even higher, at 69 per cent.

Jim's picture

Catholic Ireland saved civilization from extinction in the dark ages, produced copious missionaries and saints. But that is no more. It didn’t die a great battle but in a whimper. Years of English persecutions could not break Catholic Ireland, but in a much shorter time of apathy has more or less extinguished the faith. This nation had 87% weeklyMass attendance when I was a boy but today voted 2:1 to legalize abortion. That is quite a shift.

There is a multitude of interlocking factors here and I won’t go into every single one in-depth. However, we can draw several lessons from this tragedy. Rather than just lamenting the demise, let’s ask what lessons can we take from it?

  1. Apathy and worldliness can damage the Church far more than persecution.
  2. The Church must maintain a moral but not partisan position in the public sphere 
  3. The Church needs to win over cultural leaders to her side. In this vote, almost all cultural leaders except priests and bishops were on the other side.
Jim's picture

The Eighth Amendment was inserted into the Constitution after a referendum in 1983. The amendment guarantees to protect as far as practicable the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother. It prohibits abortion in almost all cases. It states: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

Jim's picture

The Irish prime minister has hailed his country's "quiet revolution" as early results point to a "resounding" vote for overturning the abortion ban.

Leo Varadkar was speaking after exit polls suggested a landslide vote in favour of reforming the law.

"The people have spoken. They have said we need a modern constitution for a modern country," he said.


Jim's picture

The church lost much of its credibility in the wake of scandals involving pedophile priests and thousands of unwed mothers who were placed into servitude in so-called Magdalene laundries or mental asylums as recently as the mid-1990s.

The church was, in fact, largely absent from the referendum campaign. Anti-abortion campaigners actively discouraged its participation, preferring to emphasize moral values and human rights rather than religion, possibly to avoid being tarnished by the church-related scandals.