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Postcards from the Edge

Regulars | By Mary Kenny | December 2017

Ireland is gearing up for seven exhausting referenda in 2018. There’s one on whether sixteen-year-olds should be allowed the vote; and a controversial referendum on whether to liberalise Irish abortion law. At present, the law only allows termination of pregnancy if the woman’s life is in danger. The demographics around the subject of fertility are fascinating. Ireland currently has the highest birth rate in the EU, with 16.1 annual births per 1,000 of the population. The average EU rate is 10.1 per thousand. Many of the other European nations – including the nominally Catholic Italy, Spain and Portugal – have exceptionally, even catastrophically, low birth rates. But Ireland continues to produce more babies than any other developed society. Some feminists would no doubt say this is because pregnancy choices are constrained, although contraception is legal and easily available. Actually, a survey earlier this year indicated that many middle-class Irish couples...

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