Similar attitudes towards abortion in North and Republic

Cross-Border survey also reveals differing opinions on the question of a united Ireland

Some 14 per cent in the Republic were not in favour of abortion in any circumstances, compared to 20 per cent in the North. Photograph: Coloroftime/E+/Getty

Some 14 per cent in the Republic were not in favour of abortion in any circumstances, compared to 20 per cent in the North. Photograph: Coloroftime/E+/Getty

 

There are significant similarities north and south of the Border on the issue of abortion, a major cross-Border survey has found.

More than 2,000 face-to-face interviews were carried out for the survey between October 2nd and October 16th.

On the issue of abortion, participants were asked to describe their attitudes.

In total, 23 per cent said they favoured its availability in all circumstances, while 61 per cent favoured it in some circumstances, and 16 per cent in no circumstances.

In terms of a breakdown, 22 per cent of people in the Republic and 23 per cent in the North favoured its availability in all circumstances.

Its availability in some circumstances was favoured by 64 per cent of those in the Republic, and 56 per cent in the North.

Opposed to abortion

The subsection of people who said they were in favour of abortion in some circumstances were offered a selection of situations and asked to choose in which of them abortion should be permitted.

In terms of the total figures, 41 per cent said when the pregnancy is the result of rape, 34 per cent when the pregnancy is the result of incest, 27 per cent when a fatal foetal abnormality has been detected, 42 per cent when there is a threat to the life of the mother, and 22 per cent when there is a threat to the health of the mother.

Some 42 per cent said it should be permitted in all of these circumstances.

RTÉ /BBC NI Cross-Border Survey

Where the pregnancy is the result of rape, 43 per cent of those in the Republic and 36 per cent of those in the North favoured its availability.

Where the pregnancy is the result of incest, 37 per cent in the Republic and 27 per cent in the North said it should be permitted.

In terms of cases where there are fatal foetal abnormalities, 30 per cent in the Republic and 19 per cent in the North favour its availability.

In the Republic, 44 per cent favour availability when there is a threat to the life of the mother, while this figure in the North is 36 per cent.

Abortion when there is a threat to the health of the mother would be permitted by 24 per cent in the Republic and 14 per cent in the North.

Permitting abortion in all of these circumstances was favoured by 40 per cent in the Republic and 48 per cent in the North.

The survey was carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes for RTÉ’s Prime Time and BBC NI’s Nolan Live. The results were broadcast yesterday.

The survey also dealt with governance of Northern Ireland. People were asked to choose from a number of possible options for its constitutional status in the short to medium term.

In total, 13 per cent opted for the North to remain part of the UK with direct rule from Westminster.

The current situation, where the North would remain part of the UK with a devolved assembly and Executive in Northern Ireland, was favoured by 37 per cent. A united Ireland was favoured by 29 per cent.

A breakdown of the results in the Republic and the North show that 9 per cent of people in the Republic want the North to remain part of the UK with direct rule from Westminster, while 24 per cent of those in the North favoured the same option.

United Ireland

In terms of a united Ireland, 36 per cent of people in the Republic and 13 per cent of people in the North were in favour.

On a long-term policy for the North, people who were in favour of a united Ireland were asked would they like it to happen during their lifetimes.

A total of 56 per cent said yes, 23 per cent said no, while 22 per cent didn’t know.

In the Republic, two-thirds of people wanted to see a united Ireland in their lifetime, while in the North 30 per cent said they wanted this.

The percentages for those who did not want it to happen in their lifetimes were 14 per cent in the Republic and 43 per cent in the North.

One-fifth of people in the Republic and just over one- quarter in the North didn’t know.