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Scots support reduced abortion time limits and statutory waiting period

A new poll out today (Sunday 21 May) shows that most people (60%) would like to see time limits for abortions reduced, among women the figure is 70%. ComRes interviewed 2,008 British adults online between 12th and 14th May 2017. Data was weighted to be representative of all GB adults.

61% of Scottish respondents opposed any moves towards making it mandatory for doctors to have to participate in abortion procedures against their will, while 51% oppose moves to compel pharmacists to prescribe a pill against their will, if they believe that pill will end the life of an unborn child.

The poll also showed overwhelming support (76%) for the proposal that doctors, should “verify in person that a patient seeking an abortion is not under pressure from a third party to undergo the abortion”. 65% oppose tax-payer money being spent on abortions overseas, while 82% of Scots believe, the law should require a waiting period of five days between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion taking place, in order to ensure that the mother has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her.

Responding to the findings, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said;

“This weekend (20/21 May) in parishes across Scotland a letter from the Catholic Bishops will be read at all Masses, urging voters to engage with our democracy and to remember that human life at every stage of development is precious and must be protected.  As we remind our politicians that abortion is always morally unacceptable, it is heartening to see that a majority of our fellow citizens do not support the current abortion laws.”

Archbishop Tartaglia added:

“I welcome the fact that not only is there no demand for time limits to be raised but 70% of women would like to see them reduced, that 82% of Scots would like to see a statutory waiting period introduced after a consultation and before an abortion takes place and that over half of Scottish respondents do not believe that doctors (61%) or pharmacists (51%) should be compelled to participate in abortion procedures.”

“These findings are both sobering and heartening, they undermine the shrill calls of the so-called pro-choice movement that abortion laws should be loosened. They send a powerful message to Scotland’s politicians at a time when the Scottish Parliament has been given control over this legislation and they remind us that the pro-life cause is alive and well in our country.”

ENDS

Peter Kearney 
Director 
Catholic Media Office 
5 St. Vincent Place 
Glasgow 
G1 2DH 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
Note to Editors:
The poll results have been released to coincide with the launch of the “Where Do They Stand” website. The site will allow voters, to find out where your local candidates stand on life issues - abortion, assisted suicide and embryo research - by visiting www.wheredotheystand.org.uk
Headline results
• Only 1% want the abortion time limit raised to birth
• 70% of women would like the current time limit for abortion to be lowered.
• 59% of women would like the abortion time limit lowered to 16 weeks or lower.
• 65% oppose UK taxpayer money being spent on abortions overseas.
• 93% of women want independent abortion counselling introduced.
• 91% of women want a sex-selective abortion ban.
• 79% of general population want a five-day consideration period before abortion.
• 84% of women want improved pregnancy support for women in crisis.
• 76% of population want introduction of doctors verifying women not coerced.
• 70% of parents want introduction of parental consent for girls 15 and under to get abortions.
 
Results by question
Parental or guardian consent should be required for girls aged 15 or under to undergo an abortion
• 65% general population agree (21% disagree) (“just under ⅔”)
• 70% of parents with children 18 or under in household agree (16% disagree)
• 73% Conservative voters agree (16% disagree)
Doctors should be required by new legislation to verify in person that a patient seeking an abortion is not under pressure from a third party to undergo the abortion
• 76% general population agree (11% disagree)
• 77% females agree (11% disagree)
• 77% 18-24 age agree (12% disagree)
• 81% Conservative voters agree (10% disagree)
In Great Britain the upper time limit for abortion is 24 weeks or approximately six months' gestation. By comparison, in most other EU countries the limit for most abortions is 12 weeks or lower. In light of this difference what do you think the time limit should be in Britain?
• General population
o 1% - It should be extended to birth
o 1% - It should be extended above 24 weeks
o 20% - It should remain at 24 weeks
o 10% - It should be reduced to 20 weeks
o 17% - It should be reduced to 16 weeks
o 21% - It should be reduced to 12 weeks (biggest group)
o 12% - It should be reduced to below 12 weeks
• Females
o 1% - It should be extended to birth
o 1% - It should be extended above 24 weeks
o 17% - It should remain at 24 weeks
o 11% - It should be reduced to 20 weeks
o 18% - It should be reduced to 16 weeks
o 24% - It should be reduced to 12 weeks (biggest group)
o 17% - It should be reduced to below 12 weeks
• Political
o It should be extended to birth
 Below 1% - Labour
o It should be reduced to 20 weeks or lower
 60% - Conservatives
 60% - Labour
 65% - Liberal Democrats
• Parents with children 18 or under in household agree
o 69% - It should be reduced to 20 weeks or lower
Where a doctor believes abortion to be the intentional killing of a human being, would you support or oppose the Government making it mandatory for doctors to have to participate in abortion procedures against their will, if they want to remain in their profession?
• 56% general population oppose (22% don’t know, 22% support) “only 1/5 of the population support”
• 61% Scottish oppose (23% don’t know, 15% support)
• 66% of Liberal Democrat voters oppose (19% don’t know, 16% disagree)
In your opinion, would you support or oppose requiring a pharmacist to prescribe a pill against their will, if they believe that pill will end the life of an unborn child?
• 45% oppose (23% don’t know, 32% support)
• 51% Scottish oppose (22% don’t know, 27% support)
Over the past five years, abortion provider Marie Stopes International have been given more than £160 million of taxpayer money to spend overseas, some of which has been used directly to fund abortions. Do you support or oppose tax-payer money going to fund abortions overseas?
• General population
o 65% oppose tax-payer money being spent on abortions overseas (20% support)
 46% oppose and feel this money would be better spent back in the UK on other Government priorities
 19% oppose and feel this money should be instead spent on other areas of need in developing countries such as basic health care and education
• Political
o 79% Conservatives oppose tax-payer money being spent on abortions overseas
In the Netherlands, the law requires a waiting period of five days between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion taking place, in order to ensure that the mother has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her. To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree that in this respect British law should be brought into line with the Netherlands?
• 79% general population agree (12% disagree)
• 82% Scottish agree (8% disagree)
A woman considering abortion should have a legal right to independent counselling from a source that has no financial interest in her decision.
• 89% general population agree (4% disagree)
• 93% women agree (2% disagree)
Women who want to continue with their pregnancies, but are under financial pressure to have an abortion, should be given more support to help them through their crisis
• 79% general population agree (10% disagree)
• 84% women agree (7% disagree)
• Younger cohorts have highest support
o 18-24 - 84%
o 35-44 - 83%
o 45-54 - 81%
o 55-64 - 74%
o 65+ - 76%
• 86% of parents with children 18 or under in household agree (7% disagree)
• 90% of Labour supporters agree (4% disagree)
Aborting babies because of their gender should be explicitly banned by the law
• 89% general population agree (5% disagree)
• 91% females agree (4% disagree)
• 93% Scottish agree (4% disagree)
ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
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