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Majority support abortion where mother's life is at risk of suicide

The Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll shows, however, that the numbers opposing the clause are increasing.

Image: Dr. Cloud via Shutterstock

A MAJORITY OF Irish voters would support legislation allowing abortion in cases where a mother’s life is at risk from the threat of suicide – though the numbers opposing the clause have risen in recent months.

A poll in today’s Sunday Independent shows 53 per cent of respondents favour including the suicide risk in legislation allowing the termination of pregnancy, while 23 per cent oppose the proposal.

The 30-point margin between the opposing camps remains significant, but is significantly lower than the 41-point gap identified in the last similar poll undertaken in February.

16 per cent said ‘it depends’ – indicating that a black-and-white rule may not be appropriate – while 8 per cent of respondents said they were undecided.

71 per cent of respondents said they would favour allowing abortion in cases where the pregnancy had followed a rape – a clause which would not be covered by the Government’s draft Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill.

78 per cent supported an abortion where it posed a medical risk to the life of the mother, distinct from suicide, while 69 per cent said an abortion was acceptable in cases where the pregnancy posed a threat to her long-term health.

45 per cent of voters said the would not support an abortion in any other circumstances, however, while 28 per cent said there were other circumstances in which an abortion was acceptable. 19 per cent said ‘it depends’ while 8 per cent were undecided.

FF named most popular party

The poll – which surveyed 979 people between May 5 and May 16, before the latest round of Oireachtas hearings on abortion began – also found Fianna Fáil to be the country’s most popular political party.

26 per cent of respondents said they would vote for Fianna Fáil in an election held tomorrow, ahead of 23 per cent for Fine Gael – with both parties down 1 per cent since the last comparable poll published in March.

Sinn Fein commands the support of 19 per cent of voters – up by 3 per cent – while Labour’s share of the vote was unchanged at 12 per cent.

Independents and others accounted for the remaining 19 per cent of the vote, down 1 per cent.

32 per cent of those polled said they didn’t know how they would vote, however – meaning that supporters of the most popular party, Fianna Fáil, still account for only 17.7 per cent of the electorate.

Read: 12 interesting moments from the Oireachtas abortion hearings

Gallery: 300 turn out for rally on planned abortion legislation

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Gavan Reilly

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