Nearly two-thirds of people in the North support abortion in certain circumstances, new research indicated today.
Termination is currently illegal in the region unless the mother's health is at risk, however MPs in Westminster are this week set to consider proposals to bring the law into line with the rest of the UK, where abortion is permitted.
Legalisation would be supported by 62% of local people, according to the survey by the Family Planning Association, but only in extreme circumstances such as rape and incest.
All the major political parties in the North oppose any change in the laws and are angry at the notion of Westminster MPs ruling on what they see as a devolved matter.
However the FPA claim the findings of its research indicate that the politicians are out of step with public feeling in the region.
The group claims it is a myth that people in the North do not want to see abortion available under any circumstances.
Only 20% of those questioned said abortion should not be legal in cases of rape or incest.
Dr Audrey Simpson, director of FPA in the North said: "It is time that the Northern Ireland Assembly faced up to the realities of the situation that people in Northern Ireland support the right to choose.
"These statistics cannot be ignored and show that MLAs have a responsibility to give women in Northern Ireland the choice to have an abortion.
"If the elected members of the Northern Ireland Assembly are not willing to listen to public opinion and give women in Northern Ireland the same human rights as women in the rest of the UK, then it is up to Westminster MPs to be the voice of Northern Irish women."
MPs will vote on Wednesday on an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to the North.