Amnesty poll finds 72 % in North favour abortion in cases of rape and incest

Assembly to receive 45,000-signature petition calling for changes to North’s abortion law

More than seven out of 10 people now support access to abortion in the North in cases of rape and incest, according to a new poll conducted for Amnesty in Northern Ireland. The poll findings were disclosed as Amnesty prepared to hand in a petition to the Northern Assembly with 45,000 signatures calling for changes to abortion legislation in Northern Ireland.

The poll showed that 72 per cent of those polled now support the availability of abortion in cases of pregnancy through sexual crime. Two years ago, 69 per cent favoured in such cases.

The poll also found that 67 per cent supported access to abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality compared to 60 per cent two years ago.

The polling of 1,000 people aged 16 and over was carried out in the week beginning September 15th by Millward Brown Ulster in multiple urban and rural locations across Northern Ireland.

The survey also found that 58 per cent of people think abortion should be decriminalised so there would be no criminal penalty for women who have abortions in Northern Ireland with 22 per cent opposed to this change.

Fifty-nine per cent think abortion should be decriminalised so there would be no criminal penalty for doctors and medical staff who assist women to have abortions in Northern Ireland with 21 per cent opposed.

The survey found that 68 per cent think the fact that in most cases abortion is classified as a crime in Northern Ireland adds to the distress of women seeking one, with 14 per cent disagreeing.

Amnesty published its poll as Ministers from the Northern Executive are to consider whether to introduce changes to the law to allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. Minister of Justice Claire Sugden and Minister of Health Michelle O'Neill received a report last week from an inter-departmental working group on the issue.

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