Large majority favours changing Constitution on abortion

Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI Poll finds support for repeal consistent among supporters of all parties

Pro-choice demonstrators outside Leinster House in Dublin last month. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Pro-choice demonstrators outside Leinster House in Dublin last month. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

A large majority of voters favours changing the Constitution to provide for greater access to abortion, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll finds.

Asked about the prospect of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment next year, 62 per cent said they would vote in favour of changing the Constitution to allow the Oireachtas to legislate for greater access to abortion, the poll finds.

More than a quarter of voters (26 per cent) said they would vote against the move, while 13 per cent offered no opinion.

Support for the repeal position was consistent among supporters of all parties and strongest amongst urban voters, young voters and better-off voters.

The poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday of this week among a representative sample of 1,200 voters aged 18 and over in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

It comes as the Oireachtas committee prepares to issues recommendations to the Government on how to proceed.

Meanwhile, The Irish Times understands the Government is close to finalising legislation to provide for the outcome of the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment. The committee will make a series of recommendations in its final report on December 20th, which will then be sent to the Government for consideration.

Draft legislation will provide that where a woman presents to her doctor seeking a termination, a three-day wait will be required and an abortion pill would be provided thereafter

The Attorney General and the Department of Health have been engaging in planning and preparing legislation to provide for any outcome.

GP-led service

In the event the committee recommends abortion should be provided up to 12 weeks without reason – an option favoured by several committee members – The Irish Times has learned the legislation allows for a GP-led service to be introduced.

The draft legislation will provide that where a woman presents to her doctor seeking a termination, a three-day wait will be required and an abortion pill would be provided thereafter.

If the Oireachtas committee recommends exception-based legislation, different draft legislation will provide for a clinician to determine if a termination should be provided.

Proof

There will be no requirement to provide proof if seeking an abortion on the grounds of rape or incest.

The committee will begin voting on its recommendations next week.

However members were asked to provide any specific requests they may have in writing yesterday.

Three Fianna Fáil members of the committee confirmed they will be supporting abortions to be accessed up to 12 weeks without reason. In a submission, Billy Kelleher, Lisa Chambers and Senator Ned O’Sullivan are seeking termination of pregnancy when there is a serious threat to the mental or physical health of the mother.