A third poll indicates a high level of public opposition to the campaign to legalise abortion up to birth
A third opinion poll in less than six months has once again showed that the British public is opposed to the decriminalisation of abortion.
The poll by ComRes indicates a high level of opposition among the public to a campaign to decriminalise abortion.
A total of 72 per cent of 2,000 adults interviewed for the survey wanted abortion to remain as part of a legal framework, with the existing requirement of the consent of two doctors and an upper time limit of at least 24 weeks to remain in place.
Just 12 per cent disagreed.
The campaign to decriminalise abortion is being led by private abortion providers and their allies in Parliament and the media.
Critics predict that if abortion was decriminalised there would be little to prevent doctors and others carrying out the procedure on demand and up to birth, or to prevent other abuses such as sex-selective abortions of girls.
Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), the organisation that commissioned the ComRes poll, said results show that attempts to decriminalise abortion law “are completely against public opinion”.
Nola Leach, chief executive of CARE, said: “This polling very clearly demonstrates that the public does not want the practice of abortion to operate outside of a legal framework, emphasising that calls for abortion to be decriminalised are completely at odds with the views of the everyday British public.
“There is clearly still a mainstream view in society that abortion needs to be governed within a legal framework.
“This ensures protection for the woman, having two doctors sign off on an abortion is a vital safeguard which helps make sure the woman is not being coerced into having an abortion and has plenty of one-to-one time with a medical professional to discuss her concerns”.
She added: “It is abundantly clear that the majority of the Great British public are not behind calls for abortion to be decriminalised. CARE urges Parliament to listen to the public on this issue.
“Rather than making abortion more widely available we should be doing more to support women and children in pregnancy and beyond for the good of our society.
“Time would be better spent in parliament debating cutting the time limit of abortion down from 24 weeks, in line with public opinion. The 24-week limit is becoming increasingly out of touch with medical and technological advances as more babies born before this limit are surviving.”
The findings were consistent with an ICM poll conducted for the recent BBC Abortion on Trial programme with Ann Robinson, but which were omitted from the film and published only afterwards.
That poll found that only a small minority of Britons were in favour of decriminalisation, with just eight per cent saying abortion should be allowed if a woman felt her family was large enough.
Just four per cent were in favour of allowing an abortion if a woman felt that continuing with the pregnancy would get in the way of an educational or employment opportunity.
Twelve per cent of people said it should be legal to terminate an unborn child with Down’s syndrome to the point of birth, a practice permitted by British law.
In May, a third opinion poll found that majority of people wanted far greater restrictions on access to abortions than exist at present.
The results of the survey, carried out by ComRes, also found that women are more in favour of tightening British abortion laws than men.
Just one in a hundred of those polled said they would like to see the decriminalisation of abortion to allow the procedure beyond the present upper limit of 24 weeks up to birth.
Yet 60 per cent said they believed the upper limit was already too high and that it should be lowered to at least 20 weeks.