Page 6-News The Irish Examiner Friday June 22nd 2007
By Claire O'Sullivan
The latest poll on Irish attitudes to abortion shows that over-65s and farmers are most likely to disagree with abortion in any circumstances, while the under-35s are driving the changing attitude to terminations.
The poll, which surveyed 1,000 adults, reveals that four out of five agree with abortion in Ireland if the woman's life is endangerwed, while nearly three-quarters agree with abortion in Ireland when the foetus can't survive outside the womb. A further 73% say it should be available to somebody who suffered sexual abuse by a family member.
This survey was conducted weeks after the controversial Miss D case where a 17-year-old girl in the care of the HSE became pregnant and sought an abortion as her child would not be able to survive very long outside the womb. The HSE challenged the girl's right to travel to Britian but the High Court refused ruled there was nothing to stop her travelling.
The TNS MRBI poll showed that 43% support abortion if it's in a woman's 'best interests' but the majority (51%) remain against terminations in this country. The survey reveals that those who support a more liberal abortion policy are 52% male, 48% female, most likely to be aged 25-34, and lower-middle class to working class. They are also most likely to live in Dublin or Munster.
Support for abortion is greatest when the pregnancy endangers the mothers life with 82% supporting this and then when the foetus cannot survive outside the womb with 75% supporting this grounds for abortion in Ireland. Support for Irish abortion is at 73% when the pregnancy is the result of sexual abuse.
According to the poll survey, the under 35s are more in agreement with the avialability of termination while men tend to be less in favour of abortion. A Crisis Pregnancy Agency survey on abortion in 2004 showed that amongst under 45s, 51% of respondents were in favour of the right to abortion in any circumstances while 39% said they believed it should be permissable 'under some circumstances'.
A 1986 abortion survey revealed, that amongst people aged 65 and under, 38% said that abortion should not be allowed under any circumstances. This survey also revealed that over 85% were in favour of abortion where the pregnancy endangered the mother's life or if the pregnancy was the result of incest or rape- a trend refelcted in this poll.
TNS MRBI said it was not known how much people were influenced by the Miss D case which received huge media coverage in the months before the poll.