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The abortion referendum of 2018 and a timeline of abortion politics in Ireland to date

Author: Luke Field

In: Irish Political Studies, Vol 33, No 4, 2018, pp. 608-628

Ireland voted in 2018 to remove its constitutional ban on abortion in almost all circumstances. This overturned a previous vote by referendum to institute such a ban in 1983. The 2018 vote demonstrated how far Irish society has moved in a socially liberal direction. The 2018 referendum is also of interest to scholars of deliberative processes, given the key role played by Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly in fostering the debate and shaping both the referendum question and the draft legislation that was to follow. This report provides the historical context of this referendum and discusses the deliberative processes and the dynamics of the referendum campaign itself.