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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

Poll shows strong support for abortion in cases of rape, fatal foetal abnormality

A Behaviour & Attitudes poll finds that nearly 60 per cent of people favour abortion where the “mother displays suicidal feelings”.

A small group of Pro Choice protestors picket Pro-Life Campaigners at a recent protest in Dublin.
A small group of Pro Choice protestors picket Pro-Life Campaigners at a recent protest in Dublin.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A NEW POLL has found strong support for abortion to be available to women in Ireland in cases where they have become pregnant as a result of rape or where there is a fatal foetal abnormality that means the baby cannot survive.

Neither of these possibilities is currently proposed to be legislated for by the government as it drafts a bill to implement the Supreme Court ruling in the X Case which provides for abortion in circumstances where there is a risk to the life of the woman, including the risk of suicide.

The Behaviour & Attitudes Poll of 916 eligible voters is published in today’s Sunday Times and finds that 59 per cent of people favour abortion where “the mother displays suicidal feelings”.

Seventy-four per cent of those polled said that where pregnancy results from rape abortion should be permissible with a fifth of those polled opposed to this.

Even more, 80 per cent, believe that a fatal foetal abnormality situation should mean that a woman has access to an abortion while 87 per cent are in favour of abortion where the mother’s life is in danger – but not from the risk of suicide.

The suicide risk issue has become a key sticking point for some in the abortion debate particularly backbench Fine Gael TDs who have expressed concerns that it will “open the floodgates” and make abortion on demand available in Ireland.

The 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the X Case means that abortion is legal in Ireland where the woman’s life is a risk, including from the risk of suicide.

The government has said that it plans to introduce legislation for this court decision later this year.

This table breaks down support for abortion among males and females, age groups, social classes and location:

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Read: Creighton has ‘grave reservations’ about suicide risk in any X Case law

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