Ireland isn’t having enough kids to ensure it will be able to replace its population in the long run, but the nation voted in May to legalize abortion anyway.
Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) reported that Irish women are having an average of 1.8 children altogether. That number sits below 2.1 children per woman, which is the number of children Irish women would need to have in order to replace the population.
Women had 62,053 babies in 2017, marking a 1,844-decrease in babies born from 2016, according to the Independent.
Where Ireland’s birth rate used to sit at 16.1 per every thousand women aged 15 to 49 in 2007, that rate has fallen to 12.9 per thousand of child-bearing age women. The average age of women having their first child has risen to 31 years old. The marriage rate has also fallen 0.2 percent since 2016.
Despite the falling population, the Irish electorate voted 66.4 percent to 33.6 percent to repeal the Eight Amendment, results showed on May 26. The vote came after swaths of Irish, many of whom had traveled across international waters to return home in order to cast their ballots, headed to the booths May 25 to affirm or reject their commitment to protecting life.
Women in Ireland can now abort their unborn babies up until the third month in pregnancy. Between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, abortion is permitted only in the presence of fatal fetal abnormalities or if the mother’s life is threatened.
“Ireland will now join that sad community of nations who throw away irreplaceable human beings through abortion on demand,” Students for Life of America (SFLA) President Kristan Hawkins said in a Saturday press release after Ireland’s vote.
They are “saddened that the people of Ireland have paved the way for abortion on demand in their country,” Americans United for Life (AUL) president Catherine Glenn Foster also said Saturday.