Poll finds majority in favour of decriminalising abortion

An overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland support access to abortions in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities (FFA) or pregnancy as the result of rape, a new opinion poll has found.

Research commissioned by Amnesty International found:

  • 72 per cent of people think abortion should be available if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest; 15 per cent are opposed
  • 67 per cent of people think abortion should be available in cases of fatal foetal abnormality; 17 per cent are opposed
  • 58 per cent of people think there should be no criminal penalty for women who have abortions in Northern Ireland; 22 per cent are opposed
  • 59 per cent of people there should be no criminal penalty for doctors and medical staff who assist women to have abortions in Northern Ireland; 21 per cent are opposed

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill and Justice Minister Claire Sugden have received the final report of a working group set up to examine the issue of abortion in the case of FFA.

The contents of the report have not yet been published but are due to be considered by the Northern Ireland Executive.

Ms O’Neill has told MLAs: “If there is a recommendation for legislative change, I will certainly be up for making that legislative change.”

Adrianne Peltz, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland campaigner, said: “Politicians from all parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly should study these poll findings in great detail.

“What they will find is that voters from all parties – including those who have previously blocked change – want to see a radical overhaul of our inhumane abortion laws.”