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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 27 May, 2018

Abortion bill ‘ties the hands of many families’ as poll shows strong support

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has been among those to initially respond to the publication of the draft Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill.

Image: abortion definition in a dictionary via Shutterstock

THE PROTECTION OF Life during Pregnancy Bill “continues to tie the hands” of many families affected by a diagnoses of fatal foetal abnormality as well as women whose health is at risk or who have been raped, the Abortion Rights Campaign has said.

It is one of two responses to the draft legislation, which was published in the early hours of this morning. Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore welcomed the bill and said its passing would bring certainty for pregnant women whose lives are at risk.

“If this Bill is passed there will be no need for worry, no reason for doubt on the part of the woman, her family or the medical professionals concerned,” he claimed last night.

However the response from abortion advocates was less positive. ARC spokesperson Sinéad Redmond said it is “immediately apparent” from the bill that it “ignores the needs of the majority of women in Ireland who seek abortions”.

She also said that “it continues to tie the hands of the many families each year faced with a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, women whose health is endangered by pregnancy, as well as women made pregnant by rape or incest”.

Concerns have also been raised about the bill differentiating between mental and physical health, with ARC pointing out that the legislation involves an obstetrician assessing a woman’s suicide risk, a position challenged by perinatal psychiatrists at the Oireachtas Health Committee hearings last month.

There has been no immediate response from pro-life campaigners.

Meanwhile, a poll published in this morning’s Irish Times shows strong support for the legislation. The Ipsos MRBI poll shows that 75 per cent are in favour of the Heads of Bill that legislate for the X Case, 14 per cent are not and 11 per cent have no opinion.

There is support for widening the scope of the legislation to include abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality (83 per cent support this), rape and incest (81 per cent) and where a woman’s health is at risk (78 per cent)

However just over half (52 per cent) say that abortion should be allowed where a woman threatens suicide while 29 per cent say it should not and nearly a fifth (19 per cent) have no opinion.

Read: These are the main changes to the abortion legislation

Read: Abortion legislation approved and published

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Hugh O'Connell

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