In a blow to the Roman Catholic Church’s influence over the country, Ireland voted to repeal its restrictive abortion ban by an overwhelming margin May 26.

“What we have seen today really is a culmination of a quiet revolution that’s been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years,” Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said during remarks at a center in Dublin where votes were being tabulated.

Official results revealed that 66 percent of Irish voters backed repealing the abortion ban, which was one of the strictest in the world. The vote removed a constitutional amendment put in place in 1983 that asserted that a fetus and the mother have “equal rights,” hence banning almost all abortions.

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

Grainne McDermott, a doctor who works in intensive care in a Dublin hospital, told The New York Times that the vote “means I can do my job without the fear of going to jail.”

Archbishop Eamon Martin told an Irish radio network that he was “deeply saddened” by the vote.


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