Sizeable majority supports legal protection of unborn child
Comments by Dr Berry Kiely at the Pro Life Campaign Press Conference,
Buswells Hotel, Dublin, 12.00pm, 16th February 2011
The latest research on abortion shows a sizeable majority of the public supports legal protection for the unborn child, while at the same time ensuring that women receive all necessary medical interventions in pregnancy.
The Pro Life Campaign commissioned Red C to carry out the survey on a quota controlled sample of 1,025 people aged 18+ between 8th – 10thFebruary 2011.
Question 1 reads as follows:
Are you in favour of, or opposed to, constitutional protection for the unborn that prohibits abortion but allows the continuation of the existing practice of intervention to save a mother’s life in accordance with Irish medical ethics?
The finding shows that 68% support constitutional protection for the unborn, 26% oppose it and 5% don’t know or have no opinion. When the don’t knows/no opinions are excluded, 73% of the public support legal protection and 27% are opposed to it.
The Pro Life Campaign believes that the new poll findings confirm the existence of widespread public support for an approach to protecting the unborn child based on the important distinction between ensuring women receive all necessary medical treatments in pregnancy and prohibiting abortion, where the life of the baby is deliberately targeted.
The success of the Irish medical profession in providing the treatments women need in pregnancy without recourse to an abortion regime is confirmed yet again in the latest Report on Maternal Mortalityby the World Health Organisation which shows that Ireland, without legalised abortion, is the safest country for pregnant women, out of 172 countries.
Today’s poll finding comes in the wake of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in A, B & C -v- Ireland which led to calls from some politicians and abortion advocacy groups for abortion to be made available in Ireland. The judgement, however, does not require us to legislate for abortion but leaves it up to Ireland to decide its own laws on abortion.
Question 2 reads as follows:
In a recent Supreme Court decision, judges said that human embryos are not protected by the Constitution but deserve respect and their protection is a matter for the Government. Do you think the Government should legislate, or not, to protect human embryos in the area of stem cell research and assisted human reproduction?
The poll findings show that 62% support legal protection of the human embryo, 27% oppose it and 11% don’t know or have no opinion. When the don’t knows/no opinions are excluded, 69% of the public support legal protection and 31% are opposed to it.
This finding is also very reassuring. The fact that it is adult stem cell research, involving no destruction of human embryos, that is yielding all the breakthroughs we read about on an almost daily basis proves it is possible to work towards a win-win solution for both ethics and science in the area of stem cell research.
Before Election Day, the Pro Life Campaign calls on candidates and parties to state where they stand on the right to life of the unborn child and on legal protection for the human embryo. Voters are entitled to know where candidates and parties stand on these vitally important issues. How we treat the most vulnerable defines how committed we are as a society to an authentic vision of human rights.
 Report on Maternal Mortality by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank (2007, 2010)