21st January 2010
Irish Examiner Survey Misleading and sheds no light on abortion debate
A Red C online survey on abortion views in Ireland published in today's Irish Examiner claims that 60% of 18-35 year olds support legalised abortion in Ireland. The Pro-Life Campaign has strongly criticised the methodology used in the survey and the misleading way in which the Irish Examiner presented the story on its front page.
Commenting on today's newspaper report, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro-Life Campaign said:
Given the question posed, the results are not at all surprising. The survey makes no distinction between necessary medical treatments in pregnancy and induced abortion, (where the life of the unborn child is directly targeted). This in effect makes the findings meaningless and sheds no new light on public attitudes to abortion.
Polls, including one in 2009, that distinguish between standard medical treatments and induced abortion consistently show majority opposition to legal abortion.*
The latest Red C survey confines its interviews to 18-35 year olds. Clearly then the findings are not representative of the general population. Also, only 36% of the 18-35 year olds interviewed 'strongly' approve of legal abortion and not 60% as the Irish Examiner claimed.
The report also failed to draw attention to the known fact that 18-35 year olds start to increasingly identify with the pro-life position as they get older. This is borne out in all surveys on the issue.
All things considered, it was extremely misleading for the paper to run with today's front page headline declaring: 60% In Favour of Legal Abortion
The abortion debate is a very serious one and deserves more objective treatment than it received in today's Irish Examiner.
To hear a two minute segment from Newstalk on the topic of the Irish Examiner's editorial slant listen here
*Millward Brown IMS market research, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009