Comhghairdeas Éire! (Our Chance Comes In November)

Ireland has done what, as a not-much-younger-human I would have thought impossible in my lifetime: it has legalized abortion — and by an overwhelming margin.

In doing so, it has struck a blow that will resonate worldwide, and especially here, I think and hope.  Most important, it says to the forces of reaction that all people are people (even women!) and to hell with any doctrine, policy or party that says and does otherwise.

The Irish can have nice things.  So should we — and can if we mobilize the energy that is already here to say “not on our watch” this November.

We’ll be talking about that all summer, I’m sure.  For now, lets celebrate a huge win — for a small island and all its friends.

Image: John Duncan, The Riders of the Sidhe1911.

63 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    The forces of cynicism will be working against us.

  2. 2
    Bill Arnold says:

    Was a margin of that size expected?
    Good, another country proven majority-sane (at least in this political dimension, and for moment in time).

  3. 3
    Marcopolo says:

    There is something to be said about getting results via the ballot box instead of a court ruling in terms of legitimacy. I wonder how this would play (have played) out in the US. I’m guessing abortion would have stayed illegal a lot longer longer. But we are a weird & fucked up country. After all, we did the same thing with gay marriage (court ruling) while Ireland addressed it at the voting booth.

    Anyways, great for them and onward to the midterms. Almost finished my first batch of GOTV postcards for a June 5 special here in MO. Gonna grab another lot lomorrow.

  4. 4
    Msb says:

    Bill Arnold,
    People expected /feared a close result, and it looks like the margin is about 2 to 1. The “shy” vote appears to have been the yeses this time.
    Thank God, The next Savita Halappanavar will survive and mourn her miscarriage, and, I hope, go on to have the children she wants.

  5. 5
    Mike J says:

    @Bill Arnold: Polls showed Yes well ahead, but with enough undecided to flip it. In previous referenda on social issues, undecideds tended to break heavily against the progressive stance.

  6. 6
    HeleninEire says:

    @Marcopolo: Both marriage equality and the abortion vote were changes to the constitution, so a vote was required.

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    Saw that beautiful painting and knew this was a Tom Levenson post.

    Very proud of the Irish. They made the right choice, and it is gratifying to see that it was overwhelming.

    The polls apparently did not see that magnitude of a win. I hope that holds true for the USA this fall. I think it absolutely could (with a lot of work and outreach), and the MSM is always the last to accurately report there.

  8. 8
    R-Jud says:

    Given that Ireland voted within my lifetime (I’m not yet 40) to prohibit divorce, this is a BFD.

  9. 9
    evap says:

    It’s not legal yet. The 1861 law is still in effect. But it will be legal when the government passes a law making it legal, likely in the fall.

  10. 10
    evap says:

    @Bill Arnold: It was much larger than polling suggested. Large turnout among the youngsters. Every county except Donegal voted “yes”.

  11. 11
    Mike J says:

    Also remember, Ireland didn’t just prohibit abortion. If a woman wanted to leave the country, the government could stop her if they claimed they believed she wanted to get an abortion.

  12. 12
    HeleninEire says:

    The final results are in. 66.4% YES, 33.4% NO.

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    This is great for Ireland. I hope that it helps make things better for women.

    I’m curious. Has there been any reaction from the Catholic Church? Were they even allowed to comment before any voting?

    Sadly, here in the US, states will continue to crack down on abortion. Conservatives are hoping to fill enough judicial vacancies to get Roe v Wade revisited and overturned.

  14. 14
    Marcopolo says:

    @HeleninEire: I see. Guess that changes things a bit. Thanks for enlightening me! :)

  15. 15
    Xenos says:

    “… where the Banshees live, and they do live well!”

  16. 16
    HeleninEire says:

    @Mike J: That was changed in 2013.

  17. 17
    Mary G says:

    @HeleninEire: Congratulations to all!

  18. 18
    debbie says:

    I LOVE that people returned from thousands of miles away just to vote.

  19. 19
    debbie says:

    I also liked that, as I heard in interviews this morning, people who had voted differently were sad but accepting of the outcome.

  20. 20
    Chyron HR says:

    Has that guy from Vermont denounced the Irish people for focusing on identity politics instead of things that matter to the Irish people?

  21. 21
    Amir Khalid says:

    @HeleninEire:
    So the vote was almost exactly 2:1 for repeal. Which tells me that the undecideds were already leaning toward Yes. The polling here ahead of GE14 was also close, and certainly didn’t anticipate the comprehensiveness of the defeat Barisan Nasional would suffer.

  22. 22
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Brachiator: The child abuse scandals that hit the RC church has caused them to lose creditability in Ireland, especially among the younger Irish. I saw the poll from the Irish Times via RTE, only the 67 and overs voted keep abortion illegal. As for this country, how does one get through to the White women who support conservatives, you know like the 53% who voted for Trump as well the 51% of the white women who voted for Roy Moore, to make choice an option?

  23. 23
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Msb:
    @Mike J:
    @evap:
    That’s extremely encouraging, that undecided (or shy) Irish voters broke for progressivism rather than the status-quo.
    November in the US!!!
    More party identity(affiliation) politics than issue politics in the US ATM; perhaps issues should be an emphasized tactic in the US, since the Republicans support several (or even many) policies (or anti-policies) that poll very poorly.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Blowing the thread open because I am an uncivilized jackal

    I’m ambivalent about Dianne Feinstein, but I think this is a great ad and the template Dems should follow on health care for 2018, tailored to fit different constituencies, and maybe reminding people that trump said he was going to give us something terrific that would be cheaper and it would be so easy we wouldn’t believe it

  25. 25
    Bill Arnold says:

    @debbie:

    I also liked that, as I heard in interviews this morning, people who had voted differently were sad but accepting of the outcome.

    What, no complaints that illegal foreign voters were bussed[1] in from ermm France?

    [1] joke

  26. 26
    Ruckus says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    I feel the same way about DiFi. She’s not a bad senator but out of 42 million we should be able to do better. And younger. Politics should be about the future, not the past. About making things better, not about going backwards. Now DiFi is a dem and not horrible but still she will be 85 in a month. She’s been in politics for 40 yrs now. If elected she will be 91 at the end of her term. We need fresh blood.

  27. 27
    Ruckus says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    we wouldn’t believe it

    I didn’t believe it, did you?

  28. 28
    Sloane Ranger says:

    Hurrah for Irish voters. A landslide for womens right to choose!

    When I lived in the North during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s I would have called anyone who told me this day would come, this soon, delusional.

  29. 29
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ruckus: as with Robert Byrd, I’m half convinced that dying in office is something of a goal for those who used to be called (maybe still are) the Cardinals of Senate.
    (corrected, typing without my spectacles)

  30. 30
    HeleninEire says:

    They’re making the official announcement live at Dublin Castle.
    TOTAL: 2,153,613
    YES: 1,429,981
    NO: 723,632.

    There are only 4.7 million people in the country. HUGE turnout.

    WOOT!!

  31. 31
    Suzanne says:

    This fills me with happiness. WTG, Ireland.

    And the conservatives there now have the opportunity to actually start supporting women and children instead of abusing and shaming them.

  32. 32
    Brachiator says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I’m ambivalent about Dianne Feinstein, but I think this is a great ad and the template Dems should follow on health care for 2018, tailored to fit different constituencies, and maybe reminding people that trump said he was going to give us something terrific that would be cheaper and it would be so easy we wouldn’t believe it

    Yep. I would alternate this with ads pointing out that the GOP lied about health care reform, that they failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that their proposals would hurt people and leave them in worse shape.

  33. 33
    Another Scott says:

    @HeleninEire: Excellent. Thanks for the report!

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    saw the poll from the Irish Times via RTE, only the 67 and overs voted keep abortion illegal.

    That is amazing, and very sad.

    As for this country, how does one get through to the White women who support conservatives, you know like the 53% who voted for Trump

    Nationally this has long been the case. A majority of white women always vote GOP. But the South is over-represented, and younger, single, and more educated white women are less conservative.

    But I don’t know the answer to your question. Conservatives have turned abortion into a big wedge issue. And I think a woman Republican governor recently signed a more restrictive abortion bill into law.

    ETA. I wonder if Fox News and the Sinclair Broadcast Group have even covered this Ireland vote?

  35. 35
    James Powell says:

    @Marcopolo:

    There is something to be said about getting results via the ballot box instead of a court ruling in terms of legitimacy. I wonder how this would play (have played) out in the US.

    We don’t have any way to do national ballot issues. Sometimes I wish we did, but most times I’m glad we don’t. The majority of Americans who turn out to vote scare me.

  36. 36
    rk says:

    how does one get through to the White women who support conservatives, you know like the 53% who voted for Trump as well the 51% of the white women who voted for Roy Moore, to make choice an option?

    You can’t. Only solution is to outvote them. In my interactions (limited) with conservative white women, I’ve found them to be rigid, stubborn and inflexible. A lot of the husbands are loudmouth know it alls and the women behave as if they own everything.

  37. 37

    @Brachiator: The woman R governor here in Iowa signed a fetal heart beat bill a few weeks ago. I’ll be interested in seeing how this plays out in the courts. I’ve heard some anti-abortion strategists discouraged bills this stringent because they were afraid the Supreme Court would knock it down and, with it, some of the other restrictions they’ve been gradually adding. But with this Supreme Court, who knows?

  38. 38
    JPL says:

    Happy news from Ireland, and when the young people turn out to vote, positive things happen.

    @rk: One would think that watching babies snatched from mothers arms would sway them, but it’s doubtful. Those babies could grow up to be terrorists.

  39. 39
    patrick II says:

    It seems that the Enlightenment has hit Ireland late, but hard.

  40. 40
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Now another real battle begins in Ireland. Repeal just means the cops won’t break down the door or stop people going elsewhere. Who will have the courage to open up a local facility and staff it, and protect it from the die-hards who won’t accept defeat?

    And I fear that American right-to -lifers will somehow try to put the monkey wrench into this change by radicalizing some. Never mind the 2-1 defeat, if they can make the exercise of the right as difficult as possible they will consider it a win of sorts.

    Because its an international slap in the face to them.. Forty years of anti-abortion rhetoric has only slowed down or stalled it in the United States. They yelled for years here if only it had been put to the vote of the people. Well the vote of the people of Ireland was overwhelming pro-choice in a nation that recently was steadfastly Catholic.

  41. 41
    p.a. says:

    @Brachiator: @rk:
    These types have always been here, but sometimes even when they were a majority of the voting public they didn’t vote. Apathy and disillusion (the disaster of Prohibition as an example) have been progressivism’s ally. Hate radio, Fux News, and the earlier generation direct mailings etc may have made some %age of the population stupid(er), but as or more likely the conservative con has just gotten more successful in keeping the fascist elements engaged, angry, and showing up at the polls.

  42. 42
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    And the magnitude of the defeat (2-1) and the generational divide (only over 67 year olds were no) means that there will be no reversal of this in the foreseeable future. Not that there aren’t pro-lifers among younger generations, but there certainly aren’t enough of them to do anything about it.

  43. 43
    Sean Heneghan says:

    A lesson for many Americans who take the right to vote for granted. Remember this in November, especially the young voters. They all count.
    https://www.facebook.com/irishtimes/videos/10155663489266158/

  44. 44
    Another Scott says:

    @James Powell: This.

    Most people are too busy living their own lives and trying to keep their heads above water to have the time to investigate the ins-and-outs of important policy issues. That’s (one of the big reasons) why we elect people to represent us in government. It’s their full-time job to do this stuff, while doing their best to represent the people in their constituency. Citizen referenda are sometimes necessary, but they show that the normal governmental process has broken down.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  45. 45
    Brachiator says:

    @p.a.:

    These types have always been here, but sometimes even when they were a majority of the voting public they didn’t vote.

    Sadly, this is not quite the case. From one voter analysis

    Clinton struggled particularly with white, non- college-educated women, losing them in large enough numbers in key Midwestern swing states to lose her the Electoral College even with her popular vote victory. But Trump claimed 45 percent of college-educated white women voters, as well. Age was the biggest predictor of white women’s support for Clinton—Millennial white women were the only ones Clinton won, 51.8 to 39.5, and Trump’s percentage went up with each age bracket, taking 58.2 percent of white women over sixty-five….

    Also, the women turnout did not help Hillary.

    Despite Clinton’s presence on the ballot, turnout among women was only 1 percentage point higher than it had been in 2012; 63.3 percent of voting-eligible women com- pared with 59.3 percent of men came out at all.

    Also, this was not much different than previous presidential elections.

    But this is not doomed and gloom. Demographics favor Democrats, as well as does strong get-out-the- vote efforts.

    Also, abortion is everything only for white evangelical women. Women of color are more sane.

  46. 46
    Brachiator says:

    @Another Scott:

    Most people are too busy living their own lives and trying to keep their heads above water to have the time to investigate the ins-and-outs of important policy issues.

    People understand taxes. They understand health insurance. These are pocketbook issues.

    They understand banks being allowed to rob them.

    They understand foreign policy that would send their children to die in unnecessary wars.

    They understand policy when you make it personal.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    B.B.A. says:

    @Bill Arnold: It’d be “feckin’ protestants” being bussed in from the North.

  49. 49
    hedgehog mobile says:

    Well done Ireland!

  50. 50
    James Powell says:

    @Brachiator:

    I would agree that people understand those things – to some extent. But I would also argue that the majority of Americans do not seem to able to connect their feelings about these things with their voting behavior.

  51. 51
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady):

    The woman R governor here in Iowa signed a fetal heart beat bill a few weeks ago.

    Which is why every convo that starts with “we need to elect more women to office” gets my immediate “only if they’re Democrats” qualification. Cuz, apparently, women can suck every bit as badly as the worst men do.

  52. 52
    Zoey2020 says:

    Ella in New Mexico: Prime Example: Anita Bryant. An early shot across the bow, IMO.

  53. 53
    Ruckus says:

    @rk:

    I’ve found them to be rigid, stubborn and inflexible. A lot of the husbands are loudmouth know it alls and the women behave as if they own everything.

    You have just defined conservatism. Either gender is guilty of this behavior, it’s conservatism that is the underlying disease. And I say that because they want/need to maintain that level of power/position over everyone else or they are, in their minds the lowest form of scum. They always try to measure up to some standard no one can obtain, and do, in their minds, but no where else. Those rich conservatives are higher up on that mythical standard because money is one of the defining characteristics of the disease, a way to measure one’s self that is recognized by everyone. They have to demean anyone that doesn’t look/act like them and a way to do that is by lowering the money that those other groups have, seeing as how they often can’t improve their own economic standing. Of course we all like money, we like to earn it, have it and spend it. A normal person just doesn’t do that at the cost to everything/everyone else in the world. A person with the disease of conservatism does. So while they might like to be higher on that economic food chain, making others lower on the chain also works at putting them higher. And a lot of conservatives say they aren’t racists and in the traditional sense of hating POC for nothing more than the amount of melanin they have, might not be, but effectively they are bigots. Being bigots they can also hate people who look a lot like they do, for being from a different country or even region, because they see other people as competition for everything. They can’t comprehend a rising tide raises all boats or that a situation can be win-win, we commonly call that zero sum thinking.

  54. 54
    Mary G says:

    June 14 has been proposed for a March for the Children taken from immigrants.

  55. 55
    Yutsano says:

    @Mary G: Isn’t that Juneteenth?

  56. 56
    stinger says:

    Erin go Braugh!

    Odd to imagine that someday US women might travel to Ireland for health care.

  57. 57
    Yutsano says:

    @stinger: Only if they want the real luxury treatment. Abortion is still legal in Canada.

  58. 58
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @HeleninEire: I’m here in Ireland on vacation and my spouse and I were quite surprised to find out that the Prime Minister was there at Dublin Castle less than an hour after we were. In the USA the Secret Service would have locked down the area and chased all the tourists out much earlier than that.

  59. 59
    stinger says:

    @Yutsano: June 19th = Juneteenth. And, with apologies to our neighbor to the north, Ireland is my destination of choice, for any purpose!

  60. 60
    Indiana Pearl says:

    @Ruckus: How about Notorious RBG? Do you want HER to retire?

  61. 61
    DHD says:

    Ironically this means that Northern Ireland will end up with more restrictive abortion laws than the Republic.

  62. 62
    Spc123 says:

    @Bill Arnold: one more hurdle to cross – the ethos nonsense that affects publically supported parochial institutions – primarily the school system. When this happens (already some movement) the Republic will be finally free of its past. The overwhelming result for Yes should help the political momentum here.

  63. 63
    cleosmom says:

    @Baud: They always have been and always will.

    Raise an eyebrow or two in those inevitable moments where it’s billed as “being realistic.”

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