“If you look at 1983, when the anti-abortion clause was put into the constitution, to now, the change is just extraordinary,” said Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole.
He said the diminishing influence of the Catholic church, along with the urbanization of a rural society, improved access to higher education, and an increasingly vocal women’s movement, had all contributed to a shift in perceptions.
Saturday’s referendum is the latest in a series of recent liberalizations in Ireland, which last year elected its first gay and biracial Prime Minister, or Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.
“Thirty years ago if you had said there was any possibility the prime minister would be gay or from a biracial background, people probably would have found that just impossible to imagine,” O’Toole said.
“And now it’s not just possible to imagine, it’s almost uninteresting, it’s just taken for granted.”
Here’s a look at some of Ireland’s legislation in recent years:
2018: Referendum paves way for legalized abortion
Only one county voted no in the referendum — the rural and religiously conservative Donegal in northwest Ireland.
Up until now abortion has been illegal in Ireland — except when there’s a “real and substantial risk” to the mother’s life — with women caught breaking the law facing up to 14 years in jail.
2015: Same-sex marriage legalized
The measure was legalized on November 16 that year.
1996: Divorce legalized
The measure was signed into law on June 17, 1996.
1993: Homosexual acts decriminalized
1979: Contraceptives legalized
However the reality was quite different, as O’Toole recounts. “I was a student in the 1970s and we were distributing condoms through the student union at the university,” he said.
“In one case, police seized a condom-dispensing machine at the university. So all of that kind of stuff was going on. The law didn’t really change behavior that much,” O’Toole added.
“What you’re seeing now is this culmination of a very long divergence between actual behavior, and the law,” said O’Toole.
Source : Nbcnewyork