The findings of a recent Galaxy poll of NSW voters fly in the face of claims from Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi that her bill seeking to remove all legal restrictions on abortion corresponds with community attitudes.
According to the poll, 81 per cent believe that abortion is harmful to women’s health, while 74 per cent oppose late-term abortions beyond 23 weeks and 56 per cent agree that an unborn child at 23 weeks gestation is a person with rights.
The poll titled, “What NSW Really Thinks About Abortion”, was conducted in May this year by Galaxy Research and was commissioned by Abortion Rethink.
Abortion Rethink is a grass roots campaign initiated by young professional women and specialists concerned about proposed changes to NSW abortion laws put forward by Ms Faruqi, in The Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016. According to Ms Faruqi’s website, the changes proposed in her bill “have the overwhelming support of the community”. This statement is based on a poll undertaken by The Greens in 2015.
The latest poll from Galaxy Research however indicates that open-slather abortion without any legal restrictions, as proposed in the Faruqi Bill, is well and truly at odds with community views.
When asked at what stage of pregnancy abortion should be legal, only 5 per cent of those polled by Galaxy said that it should be legal right up until birth. A total of 22 per cent said it should not be legal at all, while 15 per cent said it should be legal up to five weeks gestation, and 14 per cent said it should be legal until eight weeks when brainwaves are detected.
The Faruqi Bill proposes that abortion be legal right up until birth.
The bill also puts in place no measures to ensure women are making informed decisions and are not being pressured or coerced into abortion.
According to the Galaxy Poll, 90 per cent of NSW voters believe that a woman considering abortion should have the right to independent counselling from a source that has no financial interest in her decision.
When asked if women should have the right to be informed of the physical and psychological risks associated with abortion, 93 per cent of those polled said ‘Yes’.
Since it removes all legal restrictions on abortion, the Faruqi Bill would allow anyone whether qualified or not to perform an abortion. However, 90 per cent of those polled believe that a woman requesting and abortion should be seen in person by a qualified doctor.
The poll also found that 65 per cent of voters think girls under 16 should be required to have parental consent before undergoing an abortion, while 83 per cent are opposed to sex-selective abortion.
The Faruqi Bill also requires doctors who object to abortion to refer women to those who will carry out the procedure, however the Galaxy poll found that 61 per cent of voters support a doctor’s right to conscientious objection.
For more information about the poll go to www.abortionrethink.org