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21 / 10 / 2008 - Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: FPA Opinion Poll on Abortion
The Family Planning Association (FPA) are boasting that a survey which they commissioned "confirms public support for abortion in Northern Ireland."
( Incidentally, both women and men were surveyed in the poll so at least the FPA are now accepting men's opinions on abortion - a point to remember the next time the pro-abortion movement in Northern Ireland scream about men having no right to express a pro-life opinion )
So, allegedly, public support for abortion has now been confirmed by the FPA survey. "These statistics can not be ignored" they claim.
However, a simple analysis of their press release reveals why their statistics CAN and MUST BE ignored.
Firstly, the FPA do not even reveal what questions the public were asked. How a question is framed can result in differing answers.
The FPA claim "nearly two thirds of Northern Irish people polled (62 per cent) say that abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest" and "Only a minority of Northern Irish people (20 per cent) questioned in the survey said abortion should not be legal in cases of rape or incest."
But what would Northern Irish people have answered if asked the question: "should an innocent baby, conceived by rape or incest, be brutally killed, torn limb from limb, and then incinerated as medical waste?"
In their press release, the Director of FPA in Northern Ireland, so-called " Dr " Audrey Simpson (she has never actually confessed what doctorate she holds) said: “If the elected members of the Northern Ireland Assembly are not willing to listen to public opinion ... then it is up to Westminster MPs to be the voice of Northern Irish women.”
This is not true. The elected members of the Northern Ireland Assembly ARE willing to listen to public opinion. During the debate on abortion guidelines in October 2007, Iris Robonson from the DUP said, "...I also wish to point out that, before this afternoon’s debate, my colleague Jeffrey Donaldson and I received a petition in support of our motion. That petition contained approximately 120,000 signatures ...Owing to the recent postcard campaign in support of the motion, my mailbag has never been so heavy. I congratulate those who were responsible for that campaign, the sentiment of which we should all recognise."
Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP said, "...a petition of more than 100,000 signatures opposing the guidelines was presented to the Assembly this morning? ...Does the honourable Member agree that it is clear that there is overwhelming public opposition to the draft guidelines and that the Assembly should take that fact into account?"
Johd O'Dowd of Sinn Fein said, "...More than 100,000 people in Northern Ireland have lodged their objection to the proposed draft guidelines in a petition"
If this is "not listening to public opinion" then what is?
But the main reason why the FPA survey must be ignored is their manipulation of the results.
The FPA claim there is "...strong support for women’s right to choose"
Their proof? ...because "Nearly two thirds of Northern Irish people polled (62 per cent) say that abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest"
The FPA claim the results show "... how strong the support for choice in Northern Ireland is"
Their proof? ..because "Only a minority of Northern Irish people (20 per cent) questioned in the survey said abortion should not be legal in cases of rape or incest."
It is important to note that their results are based only on the answers of those people polled.
"Nearly two thirds of Northern Irish people polled (62 per cent)" means exactly that - two thirds of the people who were quesioned in the poll ...NOT two thirds of Northern Irish people.
"Only a minority of Northern Irish people (20 per cent) questioned" again means exactly that - a minority of the people questioned ...NOT a minority of Northern Irish people.
So how many people were actually questioned in the poll?
And what is 62% of 690?
And what's 20% of 690?
And there you have it. A survey from the FPA found that 428 people in Northern Ireland said abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest, and 138 people in Northern Ireland said abortion should not be legal in cases of rape and incest. The FPA can now confirm "public support for abortion in Northern Ireland."
Lies, damn lies and statistics!