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Most People on Island of Ireland Now Support Abortion ‘When a Woman Asks’ According to GMB Report

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The figure rises above 60 per cent in cases for rape, incest and serious malformation of the foetus.

Most people across Ireland, North and South, now support abortion on the basis of a woman asking for one, a new GMB report has found.

The huge survey of 3,000 across the whole of Ireland, conducted by GMB along with four other unions and two campaign groups, found 51 per cent support abortion if a woman requests one. [1]

The figure rises above 60 per cent in cases for rape, incest and serious malformation of the foetus.

And if a woman’s life is at risk, 77 per cent of respondents supported abortion.

Abortion is a serious workplace issue for women in Ireland, considering the need to travel abroad for medical treatment, how the stigma abortion carries is managed in the workplace and how issues of finance, access to sick pay and sick leave led to some returning to work too early.

Of the respondents 20 per cent had direct experience of abortion as a workplace issue – 73 per cent of which said the person did not tell colleagues about the abortion, 42 per cent stated the person had struggled to pay for the costs and 28 per cent said the person needed time off and used annual leave.

In total, 62 per cent of respondents 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.

Denise Walker, GMB Organiser, said:

“Abortion is a serious workplace issue particularly on the island of Ireland, where woman often have to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“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.

“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 groundbreaking 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.

"It is clear from the research that this is a matter for trade unions and we must move forward to ensure that this subject is firmly on the trade union agenda, both in terms of campaigning for reform but also in the arena of workplace negotiations in the UK and in Ireland.

"The trade union movement must provide the space for dialogue and help to bring an end to the stigma of abortion."

ENDS

Contact: Denise Walker on 07711 129468 or GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes to Editors

[1] Copy of the report available on request from GMB Press Office

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