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The Irish Independent, May 22, 2007

Majority Favour 'Selective' Abortion

By Dearbhail McDonald and Michael Brennan

The findings show that the vast majority of the electorate support the recent decision to allow Miss D - a 17-year-old girl whose foetus had the fatal brain condition, anencephaly - to leave the country for an abortion.

Miss D has returned home to Ireland following her termination, a traumatic medically-induced labour that lasted over the course of five days in a British clinic.
Last night the teenager, who supports a change in the law that would allow rape victims and women carrying a non-viable foetus to terminate their pregnancy in Ireland, welcomed the public endorsement of her "distressing" decision.

"I am very happy that people feel that way," she told the Irish Independent. "It [the induced labour] was very emotional, but I feel I have got closure now," she added.
The new poll findings indicate a deep unease among voters at the failure of the Government to legislate in the wake of the 1992 X case ruling, which made abortion legal in Ireland in limited circumstances, including where a mother is suicidal.

Some 64pc of voters said they were in favour of abortion in cases where the foetus would not survive outside the womb.
A quarter of those polled said they are against abortion in such circumstances.
Slightly more than one in 10 voters (11pc) were undecided or held no opinion on the divisive issue.

It appears all of the main political parties have misread the public's mood on the issue.
When contacted by the Irish Independent last night, all of the parties said they would not be prepared to legislate for abortion in cases where the foetus would definitely not survive after birth.

Despite claims by Fine Gael party leader Enda Kenny that, if elected, his party will not legislate on the abortion issues highlighted by the X case, four out of 10 Fine Gael voters support the extension of the controversial Supreme Court ruling.

Yesterday Mr Kenny said the party had no intention of legislating for abortion.
"This is not a matter which was discussed with Labour," he said, adding: "I do not favour legislation for abortion - that is my position."

When questioned about the Miss D case, Mr Kenny said more could be done to deal with crisis pregnancies in terms of information, counselling and support.

Despite that fact that Labour is in favour of introducing legislation to allow abortion in Ireland based on the X Case, the party said that legislating for the specific circumstances that featured in the Miss D case could pose "constitutional difficulties".

Fianna Fail, the Progressive Democrats, the Greens and Sinn Fein also said they would not be prepared to legislate for abortion in the circumstances which led to the Miss D trial.

Those aged between 18 and 24 were most supportive of liberalising our strict abortion laws to cater for abortions to be carried out in Irish hospitals where the foetus would not survive outside the womb.

Three out of four in this age group supported such a move, as did 69pc of those aged between 25 and 54.

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