In 1983, the people of Ireland went to the polls in a referendum to amend the Constitution of Ireland. 66.9% of the population voted to approve the 8th Amendment, which would recognise the equal right to life of a pregnant woman and the unborn. In 2018, after 35 years of surviving the realities of the 8th Amendment, the people of Ireland returned to the polls and voted to repeal it.
Ireland has long been known as among the last bastions of unborn protection in the western world. Across the world, the repeal of the 8thwas seen as a ‘blow to the church’, a surprise from a ‘largely Catholic country’ and ‘a quiet revolution’. It was all of these things, but it was also none of them.
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