IRISH voters will decide in today’s referendum whether to strike down the constitution’s eighth amendment, which prohibits abortions except to save the mother’s life. Two-thirds of them supported the law when it was put to a public vote in 1983. But such conservatism has waned. Although nearly four-fifths of the country is Catholic, the church’s authority has been undermined by sexual-abuse scandals and growing secularisation: just 30% of the population attends mass weekly, down from 85% in the 1980s. The public voted to legalise gay marriage in 2015, and elected Leo Varadkar, a gay prime minister, last year. Abortion has become commonplace, with at least 3,000 Irish women travelling to Britain each year for the procedure. Polls suggest that about half the country wants to let them do so within Ireland, with 30% disagreeing and 20% unsure.

In fact, a statistical model of global abortion legislation shows that Ireland has one of the greatest mismatches in the world between its laws and its socioeconomic characteristics. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice think-tank, has created a scale of abortion liberalism ranging from one, when the procedure is never permitted, to six, when it is available on demand. Since Ireland forbids its doctors to perform a termination even in cases of rape or incest, it belongs in the second tier, alongside Venezuela, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Ireland’s social and economic data suggest that its abortion laws ought to be far more permissive. To be sure, having a large Catholic population and high levels of overall piety are associated with strict restrictions on abortion. Surveys conducted between 2006 and 2009 by the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank, suggest that nearly three-fifths of Irish people consider religion an important part of their daily lives, about twice the rate in France or Britain. Moreover, Ireland has never had a Communist government—Jessica Hyne of the UN, who has built a similar model, notes that ex-Communist states tend to have lax regulations on abortion. On the other hand, Ireland’s high GDP per capita and share of women in the workforce are strongly correlated with liberal abortion laws. Overall, Ireland’s profile looks little different to those of Austria or Spain, both of which grant abortions on demand.

The model also identifies other rich countries that have unusually strict laws. Jacinda Arden, New Zealand’s prime minister, has vowed to decriminalise abortion. A campaign is gathering pace in South Korea, where perhaps a quarter of pregnancies are terminated illegally. Poland is another example of a European country with stricter legislation than its profile would imply. The socially conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party has tried to impose even tougher rules, similar to those in Ireland. Three-quarters of its largely Catholic population oppose them, which has sparked angry demonstrations.

Nonetheless, many more countries might follow in Poland’s footsteps and seek to tighten their restrictions. Although the United States, Italy, Portugal, Croatia and Turkey all grant abortions on demand, the model suggests that their people are less permissive than their laws are. Strong pro-life lobbies have been chipping away at abortion rights in each country. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, calls the procedure murder, as do some members of Italy’s Northern League, which is poised to be part of a coalition government. President Donald Trump is trying to prevent American family-planning clinics from advising patients about abortion. But unless the group of judges on the country’s Supreme Court shifts to the right—a strong possibility, with a Republican president and Republican-controlled Senate—the judiciary will continue to strike down any efforts to ban abortion outright.