This press statement was issued on the 29th May 2017
The Irish Times Poll results prove public opinion has moved on in the last number of years, but work still needs to be done.
Speaking after the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll published on Friday Paula Dennan, Convener of Kerry for Choice, said: “We welcome that this poll shows huge public support for a change in our abortion laws. Support for access to abortion on a number of grounds has grown in the last few months.”
Ms Dennan continued, “This result also highlights the importance of nuance in the discussion of abortion. Due to the unnecessarily strict rules about ‘balance’, the public must endure a debate between those who oppose abortion in all circumstances and those who wish to see the Eighth Amendment repealed. This is not reflective of the real debate happening in Irish society. The majority of people recognise that changes to our abortion laws need to be made. Where they differ is on, under which circumstances abortion should be legalised. The debates we see and hear, in our newspapers, on TV and on radio, should be between those who favour abortion in certain circumstances and those who favour abortion in all circumstances where a woman chooses it. These are the debates that reflect Irish society and its changing attitudes the Eighth Amendment.”
Ms Dennan concluded that the discussion must now focus on how prospective abortion laws would work in reality: “76% of respondents to the Irish Times poll said they would support abortion in the case of rape, but have they considered what that law would look like? Will rape victims have to face a panel of up to six doctors and psychiatrists, like suicidal women currently have to under the Protection of Life During Act? Will they be questioned by the Gardai before they are granted the healthcare they need?”
“The Citizens’ Assembly proceedings showed that rape clauses will see rape victims being forced to ‘prove’ themselves deserving of healthcare. This feeds into the narrative that their are ‘good’ abortions and ‘bad’ abortions. The reality of legislation like this is that rape victims will continue to travel or take desperate measures outside the law to end their pregnancies.”
“Those who wish to see access to abortion in cases of rape should know that that the only realistic way to achieve that is the introduction of free, safe and legal abortion access.”