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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 7 March 2021

Abortion as an option in Ireland? Just 28% are in favour of it

Most people are opposed to a choice in all circumstances.

Graffiti on Pearse Street in Dublin calling for a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.
Graffiti on Pearse Street in Dublin calling for a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A SIGNIFICANT MAJORITY of people are opposed to an Irish abortion regime where a woman has the option of an abortion in all circumstances.

Such a regime would be similar to the UK but a new Ipsos MRBI opinion poll published in today’s Irish Times found that just 28% would support it, while 60% are opposed.

Despite this, almost two-thirds of Irish people are not happy with the Eighth Amendment as it currently stands, but there is a split over whether it should be repealed or replaced.

The survey found that just 16% of people think the Eighth Amendment should remain while 38% think it should be replaced with another constitutional amendment.

Of those polled, 28% said they wanted to see the Eighth Amendment repealed, 12% said they didn’t know and 6% said none of the above to the options given.

The Eighth Amendment enshrines in the constitution the equal right to life of the unborn and in effect outlaws abortion in all cases except when the pregnant woman’s life is at risk.

The opinion poll also asked people their opinions on the circumstances in which they feel legal abortion should be available.

It found that 10% think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.

Large majorities felt the option should be available in cases of incest or rape or when the foetus would not survive outside the womb. Almost two-thirds (63%) of people think abortion should be available in cases where a woman’s health is at risk.

Asked whether an abortion should be available where the child would have a severe mental or physical handicap, 50% said they feel it should be available whereas 36% were opposed.

Asked whether abortion should be available “where a woman believes she would be unable to cope because of her age or circumstances”, 28% felt it should while 60% were opposed and 13% offered no opinion.

The poll comes before the Citizens’ Assembly on the Eighth Amendment meets for the fourth time this weekend.

Read: ‘Dismay’ and online anger as pro-choice TFMR Ireland excluded from Citizens’ Assembly >

Read: The woman whose Roe v Wade court case legalised abortion in the US has died aged 69 >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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