Monday 8 March 2010
The Government has been urged to relax abortion laws after a poll showed more than three-quarters of the population favour such a move.
The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) said the survey reveals a significant shift in public attitudes to pregnancy termination.
The YouGov opinion poll showed 78% of those questioned support access to abortion in Ireland if the pregnancy endangers a woman's health or is the result of sexual abuse, rape or incest. Where a pregnancy seriously endangers a woman's life, support for abortion rose to 87%.
Niall Behan, chief executive of the IFPA, said Irish laws on abortion are out of step with the population and with those of European neighbours.
"Attitudes towards abortion in Ireland have changed dramatically in recent years and the vast majority of Irish people now recognise that many women face difficult dilemmas in pregnancy," he said.
"This poll is the latest in a long line of opinion polls which indicate that the Irish people want the Government to face up to reality of women's and girls' lives."
The IFPA said the current laws merely add to the burden and stress experienced by women experiencing crisis pregnancies.
Since 1980, at least 138,000 women have travelled from the Irish Republic to Britain for abortion services.
The IFPA said an increasing number of women are opting for abortion services in European countries other than Britain.
The organisation called on the Government to stop exiling women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy.