From Anne Quesney, Director of Abortion Rights, the national pro-choice campaign in the UK.
A MORI poll released on Tuesday 28th November shows strong support- 63% - for a woman's right to end an unwanted pregnancy. The results are in line with previous studies, indicating a sustained majority support the liberalisation of the abortion law in Britain.
Currently, women require the permission of two doctors before they can access an abortion. Some doctors oppose all abortion and can veto women's decisions or create unfair obstacles to services. NHS waiting lists can delay women by up to eight weeks and abortion is still denied to women in Northern Ireland.
Forty years after abortion was legalised in Britian, it is time law was brought in line with public opinion and laws in the US and other European countries where abortion is available at the request of the woman.
The poll also shows a further 54 per cent agreed that 'abortion should be allowed to take place up to 24 weeks, when two doctors agree it is best for the woman's physical or mental health', 28 per cent disagreed, 13 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed and 6 per cent did not know.
The results confirm our experience that people are sympathetic to the needs of the tiny proportion of women who need later abortion. This is significant given the dominance of the minority anti-choice lobby in the abortion debate over the past two years. The poll shows that, when given even basic information about the current safeguards and the small numbers of women involved, there is public support for women's right to make their own decisions about later abortion.