DUBLIN (AP) — The prime minister of Ireland says the passage of a referendum paving the way for legalized abortions is a historic day for his country and a great act of democracy.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said after official results showed more than two-thirds of voters backed repealing Ireland’s constitutional abortion ban that he wants to make sure there are fewer crisis pregnancies and better sex education in schools going forward.
Varadkar had supported repeal and said his government will move quickly to establish new legislation to govern legal abortions.
He said: “I said in recent days that this was a once in a generation vote. Today I believe we have voted for the next generation.”
Varadkar added: “The wrenching pain of decades of mistreatment of Irish women cannot be unlived. However, today we have ensured that it does not have to be lived again.”
Elections officials said Saturday more than 1.4 million voters favored repealing the ban while roughly 724,000 wanted to keep it in place. More than 66 percent of voters wanted an end to the ban.
The outcome was a historic victory for women’s’ rights in a traditionally Catholic country. The size of the win exceeded expectations and will make it much easier for Irish women to obtain abortions legally for the first time.
The vote removes a 1983 amendment that required Irish authorities to defend the lives of a woman and a fetus equally on almost all abortions.