DUBLIN — Residents in the predominantly Roman Catholic Republic of Ireland voted on Friday to repeal the nation’s constitutional amendment banning the murder of unborn children, paving the way for lawmakers to propose legislation allowing mothers to obtain abortions. As the results were announced on Saturday at Dublin Castle, the hundreds gathered broke out into loud cheers and popped champagne bottles.
“It says something about your soul if you’re happy with abortion,” one commenter lamented.
66.4% percent of voters cast their ballot to repeal Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution, also known as the Eighth Amendment. Donegal was the only county not to vote in favor of the repeal.
The vote means that the country may now replace current text noting that the nation’s laws defend the right to life with a clause that reads, “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar praised the outcome, claiming that the vote marked “the day we took our place among the nations of the world.”
“Today, we have a modern constitution for a modern people,” he asserted.
Health Minister Simon Harris also claimed in speaking to the crowd at Dublin Castle that the voters chose the “compassionate” route for women.
“Thank you so much to everybody who voted, to everybody who came out, the men, the women, the voters in rural Ireland and urban Ireland, who thought long and hard about this question and they said we want to live in a more compassionate country where we look after our women,” he said, resulting in cheers.
However, pro-life groups in the nation expressed sorrow, stating that the vote marks a “dark day for Ireland.”
“We mourn that a vital protection and declaration of dignity for both women and their unborn children has been removed from the Irish constitution,” said Dawn McAvoy, co-founder of Both Lives Matter, in a statement. “The idea that women have won today because they might have the choice to end their unborn child’s life is too small and sad a vision.”
“The 8th amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child; it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, has always existed, and will always exist,” the Save the 8th campaign also remarked in a statement. “What Irish voters did yesterday is a tragedy of historic proportions. However, a wrong does not become right simply because a majority support it.”
“Shortly, legislation will be introduced that will allow babies to be killed in our country. We will oppose that legislation,” it said. “If and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland, because of the inability of the government to keep their promise about a GP led service, we will oppose that as well. Every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that and make our voices known.”