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PLC dispute IT abortion poll findings

By Susan Gately - 14 June, 2013

The Pro Life Campaign has questioned the results of a survey on abortion published in yesterdays’ Irish Times, which showed 75% in favour of abortion, with just 14% against.

The sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over,  were asked the question “The government has published the heads of a Bill to legislate for the 1992 Supreme Court judgement of the X case allowing abortion where a mother’s life is in danger. Are you in favour of this legislation or not?”

Commenting on the poll findings, Caroline Simons said the question was asked in a leading way. “If you ask a question in a leading way, you will elicit the answer you are looking for.  If you ask a question in a neutral way, which we have done for the last decades, with the same kind of totally independent [marketing] companies, you will get a totally independent result.”

Ms Simons said she was “tired” looking at Irish Times opinion polls “in which questions pre-suppose by their wording and formation that abortion is a treatment for suicide”.

The poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday (10th and 11th June) of this week.  Later on Tuesday, the Catholic bishops of Ireland released their statement ‘A time to uphold the Right to Life’.

In the Irish Times poll, big majorities (over 80%) said “abortion should be permitted”  where the pregnancy is the result of rape / abuse, where the foetus will not survive outside the womb and where a woman’s life is at risk.  78% said “abortion should be permitted” where a woman’s health is at risk.  Substantially lower numbers would allow abortion in the case of suicide (52%) and “where a woman deems it to be in her best interest” (39%).

Meanwhile, responding to the publication of the HSE review into the death of Savita Halappanavar which was also published yesterday,  Dr Berry Kiely from the PLC said the review “highlights yet again that the key issues in the death of Ms Halappanavar were multiple failures to properly assess and monitor her condition which resulted in a tragic failure to recognise the very real risk to her life posed by serious infection.  If this risk had been recognised the outcome might have been very different.”

The Health Service Executive Clinical Review into the death of Savita Halappanavar found there was “a lack of recognition of the gravity of the situation and the increasing risk to the life of the mother”. It says this led to “passive approaches and delays in aggressive treatment”. The review concluded that this appeared to have been either due to the way the law was interpreted in dealing with the case, or the lack of appreciation of the increasing risk to the mother and the earlier need for the delivery of the foetus.

“This confirms what the Pro Life Campaign has always claimed, that the way some politicians and media fastened on Savita’s tragic death as somehow bolstering their call for abortion legislation was misplaced and even opportunistic,” commented Dr Kiely.

She went on: “Surely it is a moment for reflection on the rush to judgment in this tragic case? The Government has plans to introduce very radical abortion legislation and so far there has not been anywhere near the level of scrutiny needed.”

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