Lead for Irish abortion reform narrows with eight days to go

Lead for Irish abortion reform narrows with eight days to go

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators take part in a 'Pro-Life' rally, ahead of a May 25 referendum o
FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators take part in a 'Pro-Life' rally, ahead of a May 25 referendum on abortion law, in the centre of Dublin, Ireland, May 12, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

DUBLIN: Irish voters who favour liberalising abortion laws maintain a strong lead with eight days to go until a referendum, but the gap over those who oppose the change is narrowing, an opinion poll showed on Thursday (May 17).

Irish voters will be asked on May 25 whether to liberalise the abortion laws. It is the first opportunity in 35 years to overhaul one of the world's strictest regimes, which has long divided the once deeply Catholic nation.

The Irish Times/MRBI poll found that 44 per cent would vote to repeal an amendment to the constitution that enshrines the equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child, with 32 per cent opposed.

A further 17 per cent are undecided, with 5 per cent not intending to vote and 2 per cent refusing to answer. Of the undecided voters, 31 per cent said they were "leaning towards" repealing, with 24 per cent leaning toward keeping the amendment.

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a Pro-Choice mural on the side of a building ahead of a 25th May ref
FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a Pro-Choice mural on the side of a building ahead of a 25th May referendum on abortion law, in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, May 7, 2018. Picture taken May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

When the same poll asked three weeks ago whether voters would support a change allowing the government to legislate for abortion on request up to 12 weeks - the regime it hopes to introduce after the vote - 47 per cent were in favour and 28 per cent against.

The poll shows a strong conviction among those who have already decided with 65 per cent "absolutely never going to change my mind" and 22 per cent "extremely unlikely to change my mind".

Support for change was strongest among younger voters, women and those living in urban voters.

Source: Reuters

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