Majority opposes Westminster taking abortion decisions for NI, new polls finds

Two-thirds of women in North say any changes to legislation a matter for Northern Ireland people and its politicians

Any moves to change abortion legislation in Northern Ireland should be a matter for the people of the North and their elected representatives, a new poll has found.

Details of the ComRes poll were released ahead of a bill being introduced at Westminster next week seeking to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

The bill is proposed by the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull North, Diana Johnson. If approved, the bill will be taken to have had its first reading.

The ComRes poll found that 64 per cent of people in Northern Ireland agreed that changing the law on abortion should be a matter for Northern politicians and not Westminster.


The poll also found that two-thirds of women in Northern Ireland wanted the issue dealt with in the North and not through the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

The poll is based on surveys of 1,013 Northern Irish adults online between October 8th and 15th.

Dawn McAvoy, of the Both Lives Matter organisation in Northern Ireland, said Ms Johnson’s bill attempted to “override devolution in Northern Ireland and to impose abortion laws on the Northern Irish people”.

“This polling clearly shows that this is not what the people of Northern Ireland, and in particular women, want,” she said.

“100,000 people in Northern Ireland are alive today because Northern Ireland did not accept the same abortion law that was introduced into Britain in 1967. We urge British MPs to respect the people of Northern Ireland and our elected representatives.”

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times