EDITOR’S NOTE: In an apparent landslide, Ireland votes to overturn abortion ban.
IRELAND (BP) — Irish voters are heading to the polls today (May25) in a historic referendum to determine whether the country keeps some of Europe’s strongest protections for unborn children.
Ireland’s Eighth Amendment, adopted in 1983, makes a mother and her unborn baby equal under the law, effectively restricting abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. If voters decide to repeal the amendment, lawmakers will consider new laws legalizing abortion.
The Irish government, which supports the repeal effort, has proposed legalizing abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, allowing later abortions only in special cases. Analysts have portrayed the vote as the last stand in the battle for the country’s soul.
The once strictly Roman Catholic country voted to allow same-sex marriage three years ago and elected a gay prime minister last year.