Majority of women want abortion legalised
Carl O'Brien, Social Affairs Correspondent, The Irish Times. Saturday 29th 2007.
A large majority of women now believe the Government should legislate to provide abortion in Ireland, according to an Irish Times /Behaviour & Attitudes poll on women today.
A total of 54 per cent of women believe the Government should act to permit abortion. While support is highest among young and single women, a majority of most age groups favour allowing abortion.
Support for abortion in the circumstances of the X case where there is a real and substantial risk to the life and health of the mother increases further to 69 per cent.
The poll results also show that large numbers of women (42 per cent) personally know someone who has had an abortion in the past.
The figures are part of the first comprehensive opinion poll on women, aimed at capturing their views on key topics such as finance, sex and relationships. It was conducted last month among a national quota sample of 1,000 women at 100 sampling points around the State.
Today's results show major differences between younger and older women across a range of social and moral issues.
On immigration, a majority (66 per cent) believe there are far too many immigrants. This belief is strongest among older women (73 per cent) and is lowest among younger women (56 per cent).
In contrast, a majority of women say they would not be disappointed if their son or daughter married a foreign national, suggesting opposition to immigration may be based on socio-economic rather than racial grounds.
Age-related differences are also clear in the sexual life of younger and older women. The majority have had an average of one to three sexual partners (65 per cent). Younger women are more likely to have had more sexual partners.
Almost half of women aged 18-34 say they have had between one and three sexual partners, a further 25 per cent say they have had four to six sexual partners, while one in 10 say they have had between seven and 10 sexual partners.
Younger women are also more likely to have had a same-sex experience, although the numbers are small. A total of 5 per cent of women say they have had been involved with someone of the same sex. The rate is highest among 18-34s (8 per cent), falling to half that rate among older age groups.
Sharp age-related differences are clear when women are asked whether couples living together before marriage is a good idea. The vast majority of younger women believe it is a good idea to cohabit before getting married, although it is opposed by most over-65s.
Younger women are also much more likely to believe they will become divorced or separated at some stage in their life.
Crime is by far the issue which concerns women most - 93 per cent say they are either extremely worried, very concerned or somewhat concerned about it. Levels of concern are lowest among young women, but reach 98 per cent among older women.
The vast majority of all women agree that married couples should enter into pre-nuptial agreements