Irish Times Poll results show the need for a more comprehensive education of public on abortion.
Positive results prove public opinion has moved in the last number of years, but work still needs to be done the Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) said today.
Speaking after the publication of the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll today, ARC spokesperson Angela Coraccio said: “We welcome once again that this poll shows huge public support for a change to our abortion laws. We see that members of the public continue to support abortion access on a number of grounds, and support under these grounds has grown the last few months.”
“However,” Ms Coraccio continued, “this poll result also shows that neither the government nor the media is doing their job in educating the public with unbiased and accurate information. If these questions were put to members of the Citizens’ Assembly at the beginning of the process, you might well have received similar responses. Unlike the general public, the Citizens’ Assembly members have had access to expert advice, nuanced discussion about how laws might work in practise, as well as presentations from pro and anti choice groups.
“Due to the unnecessarily strict rules around ‘balance,’ the public must endure a debate between those who oppose abortion in all circumstances and those who wish to see the 8th Amendment repealed. This is not reflective of the real debate happening in Irish society between those who think abortion should be legal in certain circumstances and those who think it should be legal in all circumstances where a woman chooses it. These are the kinds of debates we should be seeing.”
Ms Coraccio concluded that while there has been a lot of talk about the circumstances when abortion should be legal, there has been little discussion about how these laws would function in practicality: “76% of respondents to today’s poll said they would support abortion in the case of rape, but have they considered how this law would function? Will rape victims have to face a panel of up to six doctors and psychiatrists, like suicidal women must currently do? Will they be forced to prove their rape in a court of law? Will they be questioned by Gardai before they are granted the healthcare they need? As we heard time and again during the Citizens’ Assembly proceedings, rape clauses will just mean rape victims are forced to ‘prove’ themselves worthy of healthcare.”
“Those who wish to see real and realistic access to abortion in cases of rape should know that the only way to achieve that is the introduction of free, safe and legal abortion access. In reality, unless rape victims can access abortion without having to jump through hoops, they will continue to travel or take desperate measures outside the law to end their pregnancies.”