20.12.2010 OPINION POLL – Vast majority of Irish people support legal protection of unborn

20.12.2010 OPINION POLL – Vast majority of Irish people support legal protection of unborn

20th December 2010

Opinion Poll finds vast majority of Irish people support legal protection of unborn

A new opinion poll reveals that the vast majority of Irish people support legally protecting unborn children from abortion. The findings of the Millward Brown Lansdowne poll show that 68% of the public support Constitutional protection for the unborn child, while also ensuring that expectant mothers receive all necessary medical treatments when pregnant.

The poll question asks: Are you in favour or opposed to Constitutional protection for the unborn that prohibits abortion but allows the continuation of the existing practice of intervention to save a mother’s life in accordance with Irish medical ethic?

68% of respondents support protecting the unborn, 14% are opposed and 18% were unsure or had no opinion.

The publication of the poll follows last week's European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision on abortion, which pressured Ireland to clarify its laws on abortion.  Groups supporting abortion have seized on the judgment to push for legislation to make abortion freely available here.

Commenting on the latest poll findings, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said:

"Following last week’s European court decision, it very reassuring to know that the vast majority of Irish people support legal protection for the unborn. What distinguishes this poll from other polls on abortion is the crucial distinction it makes between necessary medical treatments in pregnancy and induced abortion, where the life of the baby is directly targeted.

Unfortunately the ECHR decision has created the impression that pregnant women are somehow denied necessary medical treatments in this country. This is completely false. In fact, Ireland is the safest country in the world in which to be pregnant, safer than countries like Britain and Holland, where abortion is legal on demand as evidenced by the latest UN report on maternal health, which was published in September. It is remarkable that the judges in the ECHR case heard no medical evidence at all but still pro-choice groups are using the decision for propaganda purposes to push for abortion.

This presents a real challenge for the pro-life movement in the coming months to reassure members of the public, and women in particular, that Ireland is already a world leader in caring for mothers and babies during pregnancy. As a society, we also need to reflect on the reality of what legalised abortion actually entails and the fact that it is legal up to birth in countries like Britain, leaving unborn children with no rights whatsoever".

The recent judgment from the European Court of Human Rights came about as a result of the case known as A. B and C v. Ireland, which involved three unnamed women who sued the Irish State for having to travel abroad for abortion. The leading abortion advocacy group, the Irish Family Planning Association, sponsored the case from the start.

Download poll results here