Sunday 23 October 2016

Amnesty poll finds 81pc favour widening grounds for abortion

Published 09/07/2015 | 02:30

Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty: many people are disengaged
Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty: many people are disengaged

A poll which found that 81pc of people are in favour of widening the grounds for abortion is likely to be "overstated", a polling expert has said.

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Bryan Cox, Director of Red C Research and Marketing, was delivering the findings of his company's poll showing the biggest support for wider access to abortion comes from urban-based and higher social class people.

The poll, commissioned by Amnesty International, showed those favouring the status quo are more likely to be male and older.

Launching the poll findings he said the stated level of support for a more liberal regime could be subject to sway if it came to casting a vote on the issue.

Colm O'Gorman, head of Amnesty Ireland which is campaigning for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment, said the poll was carried out in May at a time when abortion was not in the news.

The striking results showed that of the 81pc of people in favour of wider access to abortion, 36pc believed it should be allowed where the woman's life is at risk, the pregnancy is as a result of rape of incest or where a woman's health is under threat. It would also extend to a fatal foetal abnormality.

Some 45pc would support women's access to abortion "as they choose".

Nearly one in 10 supported abortion in circumstances only where a woman's life is at risk - the current law.

  • 64pc of people did not know it is crime to get an abortion in Ireland when a woman's life is not at risk.
  • Less than one in 10 knew the penalty was up to 14 years in jail for unlawful abortion under the legislation passed two years ago.
  • Just 7pc agreed a women should be jailed for unlawful abortion for up to 14 years.
  • 71pc agreed that making abortion a crime contributes to the distress and stigma felt by women who have terminations.
  • One in four objected to abortion being decriminalised.

Mr O'Gorman said he was surprised so many were unaware abortion was a crime given the level of debate.

It is a sign of how disengaged many people are, he said.

The Pro-Life Campaign accused Amnesty of being a campaigning group on one side of the abortion issue.

"It is no longer the unprejudiced and even-handed organisation that won the public's trust and respect," said a spokeswoman.

Irish Independent

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