Monday, October 20, 2008

Irish Times: 62% Support Limited Abortion in the North

62% support limited abortion in the North

Nearly two-thirds of people in the North support abortion in certain circumstances, new research indicated today.

Abortion is illegal in the North unless the mother’s health is at risk, but MPs in Westminster are this week set to consider proposals to bring the law into line with the rest of the United Kingdom, where abortion is permitted.

Legalisation would be supported by 62 per cent of local people, according to the survey by the Family Planning Association (FPA), but only in extreme circumstances such as rape and incest.

All the major political parties in Northern Ireland oppose any change in the laws and are angry at the notion of MPs ruling on what they see as a devolved matter.

However the FPA claim the findings of its research indicate that the politicians are out of step with public feeling in the region.

The group claims it is a myth that people in Northern Ireland do not want to see abortion available under any circumstances.

Only 20 per cent of those questioned said abortion should not be legal in cases of rape or incest.

Dr Audrey Simpson, director of FPA in Northern Ireland said: “It is time that the Northern Ireland Assembly faced up to the realities of the situation that people in Northern Ireland support the right to choose.

“These statistics cannot be ignored and show that MLAs have a responsibility to give women in Northern Ireland the choice to have an abortion."

MPs will vote on Wednesday on an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

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