Amnesty abortion poll


A chara, – Amnesty should have gone to SpecSavers. The results of its recent opinion poll (Home News, November 1st) are reported as showing that “60 percent of people believe women should have abortion on demand, either outright or within gestational limits.” Their vision is defective.

The title of the poll report is “Attitudes Towards Gestational Limits on Abortion.” The questions asked are crucial, but these are not shown.

What Amnesty fails to see is that “to abort” is a transitive verb: a verb which refers to the person or thing affected by the action.

The poll surveys attitudes to abortion only from the perspective of the one who does the action. Now, change the inquiry from “Attitudes Towards Gestational Limits on Abortion” to include the object of the verb, and list the same situations as the Amnesty poll. For example: “Are you in favour of terminating the life of the unborn child in the following situations: Where there is risk to the health of the woman; Where the pregnancy is a result of rape; Where the unborn child has foetal abnormality that is likely to result in death before or shortly after birth; Where the unborn child has a significant foetal abnormality that is not likely to result in death before or shortly after birth; For the woman’s socio-economic reasons; Available on request, without restriction as to reasons.”

Offer a similar range of replies for each stated reason: Never for this reason; up to 12 weeks gestation only; up to 22 weeks gestation only; with no gestational restriction.

For completeness, suggest possible solutions other than abortion. For example, for “socio-economic reasons”, which surveys show is the predominant reason, suggest implementing socio-economic remedies rather than medical. In the other situations, ask what possible alternative remedies would be desirable other than termination.

Note that “terminating the life of the unborn child” is a euphemism. Would Amnesty be prepared to commission such a poll, in order to live up to the motto on their website: “We campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all”? How would the results differ? – Is mise,


Sandyford, Dublin 16.

Sir, – Sixty per cent of people believe that women should have the right to abortion on request (“Majority would support abortion on demand, says Amnesty poll”, November 1st). The time is long past for the Government to put the straight-forward repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the people in a referendum and then, when it is surely passed, set about legislating accordingly. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill, Dublin.