40% of students favour freely-available abortion

Two-in-five college students favour freely-available abortion, according to a survey of almost 4,000 students.

The 40% who chose this answer were responding to the question: “Should abortion be allowed in Ireland?”

A further 48% said it should, but only under medical guidance, 6% said it should not, and another 6% answered, “Don’t know”.

The question was posed in a survey run by student services website campus.ie for almost three weeks in May, with participants invited to take part by email and through Facebook. Website chief executive Bob Coggins said responses were limited to one per person, with a requirement to submit a college email after they had gone to the site’s survey from a link mailed to them.

“We did feel we would see a more liberal view than the mainstream public, but the figure of only 6% of students against abortion being introduced is very small,” Mr Coggins said.

“It does indicate the shift away from what we would previously have seen as traditional Catholic values here, although it is worth noting that only 56% of students identified themselves as Catholics,” he said.

Of the 3,972 people to participate in the survey on issues affecting young people, 23% said they were atheist, 7% answered non- denominational, 3% were Protestant, 1% Muslim, 0.3% Hindu and 0.1% Jewish.

Just over one-in-six said they have been tested for a sexually-transmitted infection (STI), including 3% who have had a test twice, and 2% have had at least three STI tests.

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