Polls show at least 40% approve unrestricted access to abortion in first 12 weeks

Two opinion polls show around a third of people think the Government's proposals on abortion go too far.

A Sunday Independent Kantar Millward Brown survey indicates 40% approval for a law allowing for access to abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy while 19% have yet to make up their mind on the proposal.

A Sunday Times poll shows a broadly similar result with 43% of respondents supporting the Government’s proposal, 35% opposed to abortion up to three months and a further 22% undecided.

A referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment takes place later this year, with the Government looking to implement the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on abortion.

Philip Ryan, the Political Correspondent with the Sunday Independent said: "The poll has shown that about 40% feel that the proposal by the Oireachtas Committee for 12 weeks unrestricted abortion is about right.

"Another 8% say that 12 weeks doesn't go far enough, but then a third of voters, exactly 33%, say 12 weeks is a step too far."

The Sunday Independent Kantar Millward Brown poll asked about a number of scenarios.

A majority of people believe abortion is acceptable in cases of rape, where there is a threat of suicide, when there is a medical risk to the mother's life, when there is a risk to the mother's long-term health, and in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

However, fewer than three in 10 people support abortion for other reasons, with 44% opposed and one in five saying it depends on the scenario.

Pro Life Campaign spokesperson, Dr Ruth Cullen, said: “Obviously I welcome the shift in support in a pro-life direction indicated in the two latest polls. As more and more people come to realise what repeal of the Eighth Amendment would lead to in practice, I'm confident the polls will continue to move in the same direction.

“No matter how it’s packaged or presented, repeal of the Eighth Amendment would strip unborn babies of all meaningful protections and lead to abortion on demand similar to countries like England where one in five pregnancies now end in abortion.

“The point we have been making that there’s no such thing as limited abortion is starting to resonate with voters. This is not surprising as the evidence from other countries on this point is so strong.

“It makes no sense talking about doing away with all constitutional protections for unborn babies through repeal and in the same breath arguing that meaningful protections for the right to life could somehow be provided for in legislation. The vote on repeal is about whether we introduce abortion on demand or not. It is about nothing else.”

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