GMB report: Attitudes to abortion in Ireland are 'softening'
ATTITUDES to abortion in Ireland are "softening", according to the GMB trade union.
A survey of 3,000 people across Northern Ireland and the Republic reveals just over half of those polled support abortion "when a woman asks".
The figure rises above 60 per cent in cases for rape, incest and serious malformation of the foetus, while 77 per cent supported a termination if a woman's life is at risk.
Abortion is illegal in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, except where the pregnancy presents a real and substantial risk to the mother's life.
The survey found abortion is a serious workplace issue for women in Ireland, with 20 per cent having direct experience of it affecting their work, including struggling to pay costs related to the termination and taking time off work.
The poll also revealed 62 per cent agreed that expanding access to abortion should be a priority issue for the government and 87 per cent opposed the criminalisation of women who have abortions.
The poll was conducted by GMB along with four other unions and two campaign groups.
Denise Walker from the GMB said "abortion is a serious workplace issue particularly on the island of Ireland".
"They often experience stigma after having an abortion, which has to be managed in the workplace and it may be the case that this also applies in England, Scotland and Wales," she said.
"In addition, financial pressures and access to sick pay and sick leave lead to some women to use their annual leave to recover from an abortion - and often return to work too early.
"This ground-breaking survey shows attitudes to abortion in Ireland are softening.
"GMB hopes this paves the way for a mature debate on the matter, in which women's health and wellbeing take centre stage."