DUBLIN—Ireland’s landslide vote in favor of allowing abortion revealed a country that has undergone a profound and rapid transformation from a conservative, deeply Catholic nation to an increasingly secular one that is steadily embracing the liberal mores of the rest of Europe.
With counting in 37 of the 40 electoral districts completed Saturday, 67.3% of voters backed a repeal of a ban on abortion—roughly the same proportion that supported its addition to the constitution 35 years earlier.
The results were greeted with astonishment across a country where abortion has long been a deeply divisive issue.
“What we have seen today is a culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years,” said Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. “The people have said they want a modern constitution for a modern country, and they trust women.”
If confirmed, the margin of victory would pave the way for legislation proposed by the government—which backed a repeal of the ban—that would allow for terminations of pregnancy up to 12 weeks. Abortion could also be allowed later in the pregnancy under certain circumstances.
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