Abortion Referendums in Ireland

Reference work entry


Ireland was a conservative outpost on the European periphery for much of the twentieth century. From independence in 1922, the state pursued social policies heavily influenced by religious values, and indeed the 1937 constitution embedded many of these positions in the framework of the state. The constitution included a prohibition on divorce and a statement which strongly favored women remaining in the domestic sphere. These policies were supported by the majority Catholic population, but social values began to evolve by the 1960s. This can be seen in the shifting narratives in the debates on many social and political issues. This chapter will focus on a single issue – abortion. It will undertake an evaluation of the debates on the six abortion referendum question wordings, campaign narratives, and voting patterns. The analysis will provide compelling evidence of remarkable value change in just four decades.


Abortion Referendum Ireland Conservative Liberal Values 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Government and PoliticsUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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