The presentation by The Irish Times of today’s Ipsos MRBI poll on abortion was “grossly distorted”, according to the Pro Life Campaign.
In its analysis of the poll results, The Irish Times states that public support for abortion legislation has risen from 23% in 1997 to 71% today.
Cora Sherlock of Pro-Life Campaign said: “This is a completely distorted and inaccurate presentation. The 1997 MRBI poll which The Irish Times claims showed only 23% support for abortion actually found 77% of people supported abortion in a variety of circumstances, depending on how the question was asked. However, like the poll published in today’s Irish Times, it made no distinction between abortion and necessary medical treatments in pregnancy.
“The 23% mentioned by The Irish Times was just one of the findings in a multiple choice question that included other categories of support for abortion.
“Five years later, in 2002, when the electorate had an actual choice to make in a referendum, 49% voted YES to row back on the X case ruling. An IMS poll conducted just afterwards found an additional 5% voted NO on pro-life grounds.
“In other words, despite findings like the one cited by The Irish Times from 1997 and the latest Ipsos MRBI poll, when the people have an actual democratic choice, a clear majority rejects abortion.”
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Sherlock concluded: “Polls showing high levels of support for abortion are nothing new. Whenever the question suppresses the distinction between induced abortion (that targets the life of the baby) and necessary medical treatments to preserve the life of the mother (where every reasonable effort is made to save the life of the baby), the results show high support for abortion. Such polls, however, significantly under represent the opposition among the electorate and create an inflated perception of the extent of public support for abortion.”