A Lesson from Ireland

Clair Wills

Clair Wills reminds us that years of forced birth and coerced adoption convinced the Ireland to legalize abortion. Will history repeat itself in the United States?

“In a couple of weeks’ time, on May 25, Ireland will mark the fourth anniversary of the abortion referendum, when, with broad cross-party support, 66.4 percent of the population voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution.

Adopted following a deeply divisive referendum in 1983, ‘the Eighth’ asserted the right to life of the unborn,’with due regard to the equal rights of the mother.’ Abortion had been illegal in Ireland since the passage of the British Offences Against the Person Act 1861, which was kept on the statute books after independence. But for religious conservatives it was not illegal enough.”

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