New polling data released by the Millward Brown Lansdowne polling firm and commissioned by the ProLife Campaign shows strong public backing for the pro-life commitments made by majority government party Fine Gael prior to the general election in 2011.
The new research also reveals significant public support for current medical practice in Ireland where there is a duty of care towards the baby when intervening in pregnancy to save the mother’s life.
Poll respondents were asked, “Just prior to polling day in the 2011 General Election, Fine Gael said it was opposed to the legalization of abortion and experimentation on human embryos. It said that Fine Gael’s representatives would bring to the proposed all-party committee a clear commitment that women in pregnancy will receive whatever treatments are necessary to safeguard their lives, and the duty of care to preserve the life of the baby will also be upheld. Would you agree or disagree with this commitment?”
Some 80 percent said they agreed with the pro-life commitment while 20 percent said they disagreed. The response from Connacht/Ulster, which includes the Prime Minister’s (Taoiseach’s) own constituency of Mayo, was telling as 87% agreed and only 13% disagreed.
A second question in the poll asked Irish citizens, “Current medical practice in Ireland does not allow the deliberate killing of the unborn baby. In a crisis pregnancy situation, the doctor has a duty of care towards the baby when intervening to save the mother’s life. Do you consider that this ethical practice should be protected by law?”
Some 78% of those who expressed an opinion said it should and 22% disagreed and ProLife Campaign noted there was majority support in all ages, social classes and regions.
“When the ethical distinction between induced abortion and necessary medical interventions in pregnancy is clarified in polling questions, the true strength of public opposition to abortion is revealed,” Dr Berry Kiely of the Pro Life Campaign said in response. “The latest poll findings bear this out and are immensely reassuring from a pro-life perspective.”
Referring to the speech by Minister for Health, James Reilly in the Irish Parliament (Dáil Eireann) during the recent Private Members’ Bill on abortion, Dr Kiely said: “The Minister for Health’s speech alarmed pro-life supporters and he has a responsibility to clarify his position and that of Fine Gael”.
In his speech, Minister Reilly said that the previous six governments had failed to legislate for the X Case decision but that the present Government “will not be the seventh.”
“It is clear from the Minister’s remarks that he does not expect the “Expert Group” on abortion to list as one of its options ways of complying with the European Court of Human Rights decision in A, B and C v. Ireland, that afford legal protection to both mother and baby in pregnancy,” Dr. Kiely added. “This completely undermines Fine Gael’s solemn pre-election commitment opposing abortion legislation and pledging that “women in pregnancy will receive whatever treatments are necessary to safeguard their lives and the duty of care to preserve the life of the baby will also be upheld.”
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“Legislation based on the X Case would amount to abortion on demand as the judges heard no medical evidence and set no time limits for when an abortion could take place. In addition the recent European court decision in A, B and C v. Ireland does not oblige us to introduce an abortion regime,” Kiely said.
“Instead of repeating pro-abortion claims, the Minister for Health needs to acknowledge that Ireland, without abortion, is the safest country in the world for pregnant women as recognized by the UN and World Health Organization. The Minister also needs to clarify Fine Gael’s stance on abortion in light of his recent speech in the Dáil,” she concluded.