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 historicin 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.
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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