Majority want to see abortion in certain circumstances to be legal in Ireland

A Newstalk/Red C poll has found that the majority indicate the desire to see abortion in certain circumstances

A new poll has indicated that the Irish population feel change is needed in relation to the 8th Amendment.

The first in a series of exclusive Newstalk/Red C polls, ahead of the general election, indicates that the majority of the electorate wants to see abortion laws within Ireland revised, while ensuring careful governance is still retained.

Rape or incest and cases of fatal foetal abnormality garner the strongest support for change, with less support recorded for non-fatal foetal abnormalities and suicide. 

In the case of rape or incest, 78% believe abortion should be allowed while 76% believe it should be allowed in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

Meanwhile, 61% believe abortion should be allowed for both significant fatal foetal abnormality/non-fatal foetal abnormality and suicidal feelings on the part of the mother which were 59%.

Only 41% of respondents agreed that it should be an option for any circumstances felt necessary by the mother.

Terminate the 8th?

The 8th Amendment is the act in the Irish Constitution which states that ‘the State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother’. 

According to the survey it appears that there is a low level of indecision (9%) amongst the public with regard to the question of whether or not the 8th amendment to the constitution should be removed. 48% of those polled believe that this amendment should be removed while 41% of respondents believe that it should not.

What does the poll tell us?

This suggests that at a national level the people want to see abortion laws within Ireland revised, but still want to see careful governance retained.

Social class is also an influencer in terms of opinion on the subject, with those in higher social grades taking a more liberal stance in their viewpoint.

Differences amongst male and female respondents does not vary widely with the most marked contrast between the sexes being in the instances of significant foetal disability or non-fatal foetal abnormality with 66% of men agreeing that abortion should be an option while only 57% of woman agree with this assertion.

Speaking about the findings Richard Colwell, CEO of Red C says: "the results of this exclusive poll for Newstalk show that the majority of adults in Ireland would like to see legal options for abortion within certain circumstances to be introduced in Ireland.  However, while seeking these changes, many remain committed to the ideals of the 8th Amendment. Suggesting that while at a national level the people want to see abortion laws within Ireland revised, they still want to see careful governance retained."
Shane Coleman, Newstalk’s Political Editor has commented: "there is a majority of people based on this poll who want to see changes in the 8th amendment but there is confusion in that. What we do know is that 48% of people want to see the 8th amendment removed, that would suggest if there is a referendum it is far from a done deal."
The Pat Kenny Show will host a special NUI Galway debate tomorrow (Friday 22nd January) on the 8th amendment when they are joined by students from NUI Galway for a special broadcast from the Radisson Hotel Galway from 10am-12.30pm.

Have your say

What's your view? Join the conversation on @ElectionNT or with the hashtags #GE16 and #RealityCheck.


*The poll: A national representative sample survey of 1005 adults 18+ was conducted by Red C on behalf of Newstalk 106-108fm.  The field work was took place between 11th-13thJanuary 2016.  The method was by way of telephone omnibus survey.