DUBLIN (CBS) — Irish voters have overwhelmingly supported repealing their country’s constitutional ban on abortions and having parliament enact laws that reflect the popular vote, final results from a referendum show.

Election 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.

ireland3 Irish Voters Overwhelmingly Repeal Ban On Abortion

DUBLIN, IRELAND – MAY 26: Supporters gather at Dublin Castle for the result Irish referendum result on the 8th amendment concerning the country’s abortion laws on May 26, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland has voted in favour of overturning the abortion ban as early results point to a “resounding” victory for the yeas campaign. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Earlier on Saturday, as two exit polls predicted a landslide win, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar praised the apparent victory as “the culmination of a quiet revolution” that has been unfolding in the past 10 to 20 years.

“The people have spoken,” said Varadkar, who campaigned for repealing Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortions.

“The people have said that we want a modern constitution for a modern country, that we trust women and we respect them to make the right decision and the right choices about their health care.”

The prime minister, a medical doctor who came to power last year, spoke to RTE News in advance of the announcement of the referendum’s official results.

 

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