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15 / 05 / 2009 - Majority of Irish people want to defend life: poll
A clear majority of Irish people continue to support protection for human life at all stages, new polls show.
The survey, conducted by Millward Brown IMS on behalf of the Pro Life Campaign (PLC), shows that 51 per cent of voters were opposed to Dáil legislation allowing abortion. Out of a sample of 943 voters, 30 per cent favoured such legislation, while 19 per cent didn't know or expressed no opinion.
On the question of support for constitutional protection for the unborn child, 63 per cent supported such protection for the unborn, while 16 were opposed. Twenty per cent did not know or had no opinion.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the results, Dr Berry Kiely, a spokesperson for the PLC, said that the latest research on a range of life issues showed that “a substantial majority of the public” still supported laws which reflected a pro-life stance.
Referring to the poll's findings on the issue of destructive research on human embryos, Dr Kiely said that 47 per cent of the public supported laws which would protect embryos from such experiments. The poll showed that 19 per cent of people were opposed to such legislation, while 34 per cent didn't know or had no opinion.
Dr Kiely added that, as European and local elections approached, voters were “looking to the values we need, to protect the vulnerable and respect life itself” alongside the pressures they faced themselves.
Voters were entitled, she continued, “to know precisely where the Government and main opposition parties stand on legislation to protect the human embryo”.
Dr Kiely said: “The Pro-Life Campaign calls on the Government and main opposition parties to clarify their positions. We will notify our supporters on the stances of the various parties in advance of Election Day.
“Unless legislation is introduced, human embryos could be deliberately destroyed in Ireland for use in research. These embryos are members of the human family in their earliest weeks and deserve protection. The Government’s record in protecting human embryos both in Europe and Ireland has been unhelpful.”
Addressing what she called “public confusion about stem cell research”, Dr Kiely said it was important to note that the stem cell research providing the exciting new treatments “involves adult stem cells, not human embryonic stem cells”.
The Government, she added, “should take the lead promoting Ireland as a flagship for this ethical research, which does not destroy human life”. Other countries, Dr Kiely noted, such as Italy and Germany had “shown how it’s possible to introduce effective protections for the human embryo”.
On the issue of abortion, Dr Kiely noted that Ireland was “officially recognised as the safest country in the world in which to be pregnant”.
This fact, she said “greatly undermines the argument that an abortion regime should be introduced in this country”.
The survey was carried out by Millward Brown IMS on a quota controlled sample of 943 people aged over 18, between 7th and 21st January 2009.