Nearly three quarters of people in Northern Ireland support abortion law change

New Amnesty poll shows the majority of people want abortion to be available in cases of rape and incest.

Nearly three quarters of people in Northern Ireland support abortion law change

Image: Ivan Sekretarev / AP/Press Association Images

Nearly three quarters of people in Northern Ireland want abortion to be available in cases of rape and incest and when the foetus will not survive outside the womb, according to a new Amnesty International poll published today.

The poll also shows an increase in support for access to abortion since a similar survey commissioned by Amnesty two years ago. In 2014, 69% of people in Northern Ireland supported access to abortion in cases of rape, a figure which has now increased to 72%. Meanwhile, 60% of respondents supported access to abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality - this has now grown to 67%.

Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK where abortion is banned in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality.

“These poll findings demonstrate an overwhelming demand for change to Northern Ireland’s draconian abortion laws", Adrianne Peltz, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Campaigner, said. "This is not a small margin of support for women’s access to abortion, it’s a definitive landslide. Northern Ireland has changed."

The polling figures are published as Ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive are considering whether or not to introduce changes to the law to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

Meanwhile, talks are still ongoing between Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance about a Dáil vote next week on an abortion referendum.

The Independent Alliance is seeking a free vote for its five TDs - three of whom supported an identical bill last year.

Fine Gael wants the whole government to reject the bill next week but no agreement has yet been reached.

Minister Finian McGrath has said there isn't a split in government over a bill to repeal the 8th amendment.

The bill is due for debate next Tuesday with a vote two days later.