The Irish public overwhelmingly supports the government’s plan to legislate on abortion, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.
In fact, according to the Irish Times, a substantial majority of Irish voters now back wider access to abortion than the very limited availability being proposed by the government.
Asked if the Irish government should finally legislate for the findings in the 1992 X case, which established the right of Irish women to an abortion if a pregnant woman's life was at risk because of pregnancy, including the risk of suicide, 71 percent of responders said yes, 11 per cent said no and 18 percent had no opinion.
Despite the 1992 ruling, legislation on the matter has still not been brought forward until now, with supporters of both Coalition parties strongly backing the proposal. It is also strongly backed by supporters of the two main opposition parties, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.
According to the poll Irish people over 65 and those in the 16-24 age group were less enthusiastic about the legislation than other age groups.
In regional terms Dublin was reportedly strongest in favor of the proposals, with the rest of the province of Leinster the least supportive of legislation.
The poll showed remarkable majorities in favor of legislation in all regions, social categories and age groups, however.
The survey was undertaken last Monday and Tuesday among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies, with a margin of error that was plus or minus 3 per cent.
Asked whether abortion should not be permitted under any circumstances or allowed in certain circumstances, 12 per cent said it should never be permitted, while 85 per cent said it should be allowed in certain circumstances.
84 per cent said it should be allowed where a woman’s life is at risk. Asked if abortion should be permitted in cases where the fetus is not capable of surviving outside the womb, 79 percent said it should.
78 percent of responders said abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest, while 70 percent were in favor in cases where a woman’s health is at risk. Finally, when asked if abortion should be permitted where a woman deems it to be in her best interest, 37 percent said that it should.
The survey found that those over 65 were the most opposed to abortion in any circumstances and people between 35 to 49 were most in favor.
On the option of abortion being allowed where a woman deems it to be in her best interests, Fine Gael voters were reportedly the most strongly opposed, with just 27 per cent in favor.
The government is planning legislation to give effect to the X case ruling.