Mixed reaction to latest opinion poll on Ireland's abortion laws

The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment has said that a new opinion poll underlines the need for the Government to act swiftly to liberalise Ireland's abortion laws.

Commenting on the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll, published today, Ailbhe Smyth, Convenor of the Coalition, said there is a strong desire to see change.

“Today’s results are very much in line with public opinion polls from the past couple of years. They show a strong desire for complete liberalisation of Ireland’s abortion laws.

“The public are tired of waiting for the Government to address this issue.

“The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Repeal of the Eighth Amendment must be convened immediately to begin examining how best to implement the recommendations made by the Citizens’ Assembly.”

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) have said that despite the 'move of public opinions', work still needs to be done.

“We welcome once again that this poll shows huge public support for a change to our abortion laws," said ARC spokesperson Angela Coraccio

"We see that members of the public continue to support abortion access on a number of grounds, and support under these grounds has grown the last few months.”

“76% of respondents to today’s poll said they would support abortion in the case of rape, but have they considered how this law would function?

"Will rape victims have to face a panel of up to six doctors and psychiatrists, like suicidal women must currently do? Will they be forced to prove their rape in a court of law? Will they be questioned by Gardai before they are granted the healthcare they need? As we heard time and again during the Citizens’ Assembly proceedings, rape clauses will just mean rape victims are forced to ‘prove’ themselves worthy of health care.”

The Pro-Life Campaign have responded by saying it is confident polls showing support for abortion would change quickly in the event of any referendum "as people begin to reflect on what the changes would mean in practice and how it would open the door to widespread abortion.”

PLC spokesperson Cora Sherlock said: “Taking a closer look, there are some real positives in today's poll for the pro-life side.

“I would be confident when people reflect on what dismantling the Eighth Amendment would actually lead to in practice, support for retaining it will grow quickly. The clear lesson from the Citizens' Assembly is that once you start singling out certain unborn babies as unworthy of legal protection, then in effect you are saying that unborn human life in general has no intrinsic value."

“As a society, we either protect all human life or you end up protecting none. It’s that stark,” she concluded.

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