Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ireland Votes Pro-Choice... In A Landslide


The vote to repeal the harsh 8th Amendment to Ireland's Constitution-- which banned all abortion, even when rape was the cause of the pregnancy-- was expected a to be close, especially after American anti-Choice fanatics funneled campaign funds into the election. But it wasn't close. Ireland voted overwhelmingly to join the rest of the EU, just as they had voted to allow same sex marriage in 2015. And not unexpectedly, it was younger voters who led the way, nearly 80% of voters under 34 voting against the abortion ban. The only age cohort voting "No" was those over 65. The Irish Times reported a landslide based on exit polls Friday. As the votes were counted officially Saturday, reports all sounded like this:
It's official: Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow, Yes, Yes, Yes.
Nationally the final vote was 3,367,556 (66.4%) to 2,159,655 (33.6%).

By late Saturday afternoon it was clear that just a single constituency was voting "No", Donegal in the far north. Central Dublin led the way with a 76.51% to 23.49% vote for "Yes" (pro-Choice). Except for tiny, rural, backward Donegal, the best the "No" vote could do was around 40% in places like Tipperary, Offaly and Limerick. Anti-Choice proponents expected to win in rural parts of the country. They didn't. All 10 Dublin constituencies were counted by early evening on Saturday. Mind-blowing results:

Click to view the Dublin results

For decades, Irish women with an unviable or unwanted pregnancy have faced an impossible choice. A choice between a lonely-- and for many, prohibitively expensive-- journey to a foreign country to seek a safe abortion; an attempt to do it themselves, risking death or criminal prosecution; or simply succumbing to a state that forces them to carry their pregnancy to term, regardless of whether they conceived through rape, or fatal foetal abnormalities mean their baby will die at birth.

No more. Friday’s referendum-- expected to be close-- in the end delivered a decisive majority in favour of repealing the Irish constitution’s eighth amendment, which since 1983 has recognised an equal right to life for both mothers and their unborn children, effectively prohibiting abortion in almost all cases.

The result, described by Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, as “the culmination of a quiet revolution in Ireland,” is extraordinary on two counts. First, in its decisiveness: watching thousands of young people flock home to vote by boat, train and plane, many thought this vote would be a tale of two Irelands-- older and younger; rural and urban; the past and the future.

That the resounding victory was not purely a result of generational displacement hints at an Ireland more unified than many believed. Exit polls suggest that even among the over-65s, a very significant minority voted for repeal. Alongside Ireland’s popular vote for equal marriage, it reveals just how much social attitudes have transformed as a result of people with longstanding views changing their minds.

The result was also extraordinary for what it represents: not just an embrace of women’s reproductive rights, but a sweeping away of one of the last vestiges of church influence on the state. Decades of scandal-- from the Catholic church’s role in running the Magdalene laundries where thousands of unwed, pregnant women were imprisoned and abused, to the child sex abuse scandals that have racked it-- have eroded its moral legitimacy and left it vulnerable to charges of the most extreme hypocrisy. An institution that looked the other way when women in its protection were raped, and children in its care were sexually abused, cannot expect to command the moral obedience of a nation.

The Irish parliament is now set to legalise abortion on demand in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, bringing Ireland into line with most of Europe, with abortion available up to 24 weeks on much more restricted grounds.

This will profoundly improve the lives of Irish women. But the result will also be felt beyond Ireland’s borders: most strongly and immediately in Northern Ireland, where the only way women can secure safe and legal abortion is to travel to the British mainland. The MP Stella Creasy is planning to force a parliamentary vote on the issue, but liberalisation is strongly opposed by the anti-abortion DUP, on whose votes the government relies at Westminster. The DUP cannot claim to speak for Northern Ireland, where there is a clear majority in favour of liberalisation. It would be unforgivable for Theresa May to trade away the rights of British women in exchange for the DUP’s parliamentary support.

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At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

even cat'lick lunatic nations are smarter than the united shitholes of America.

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good to see that the Roman church is losing its grip on the Irish. So many of their most egregious crimes against their followers happened there.

Now if only we could eliminate the stranglehold religion has on too many other nations - including ours.

At 8:22 AM, Blogger lawguy said...

That last sentence is a joke, right?

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you must ask, you clearly don't need to know.


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