Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ireland votes to repeal a constitutional ban on abortion

A vote in Ireland strikes down a consitutional ban on abortion, and will likely lead to legal abortions in at least some cases, and a reduction in black market and overseas abortions.

The NY Times has the story:
Ireland Votes to End Abortion Ban in Rebuke to Catholic Church

"DUBLIN — Ireland voted decisively to repeal one of the world’s more restrictive abortion bans, sweeping aside generations of conservative patriarchy and dealing the latest in a series of stinging rebukes to the Roman Catholic Church.

"The surprising landslide cemented the nation’s liberal shift at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise in Europe and the Trump administration is imposing curbs on abortion rights in the United States. In the past three years alone, Ireland has installed a gay man as prime minister and has voted in another referendum to allow same-sex marriage.
"The vote repeals the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution — a 1983 measure that conferred equal rights on the fetus and the mother and banned abortion under almost all circumstances. Before the referendum, the government had pledged to pass legislation by the end of the year to allow unrestricted terminations up to 12 weeks if the amendment was set aside.

"The outcome signaled the end of an era in which thousands of women each year had been forced either to travel abroad or to buy pills illegally online to terminate their pregnancies, risking a 14-year jail sentence.
"It was the latest, and harshest, in a string of rejections of the church’s authority in recent years.

"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.
"Abortion supporters had campaigned heavily on so-called hard cases faced by women, such as rape or fetal abnormalities. The referendum result showed that many Irish voters agreed that women in those circumstances should be allowed a choice.

That shift in attitude was driven in part by prominent cases, such as the 2012 death of Savita Halappanavar, who had asked for a termination of her pregnancy but later died of complications from a septic miscarriage. Ms. Halappanavar’s face was printed on placards supporting abortion, and on Saturday morning people placed flowers in front of a mural of her face in Dublin.

“People started realizing that compassion didn’t fit just one side,” Ms. Reidy said.

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