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Majority Of Australians Think Abortion Pill (RU486) Should Be Made Available To Australian Women

Over three-in-five Australians (62%) believe the ‘Abortion Pill’ (RU486) should be made available to Australian women, while 31% believe it should not be made available and 7% can’t say.

The latest Morgan Poll finds that more men than women (65% cf 58%) believe the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available to Australian women.  However, men and women are likeminded on surgical abortion, with 65% each (unchanged since 1998) approving of the termination of unwanted pregnancies through surgical abortion, while 22% disapprove of surgical abortion and 13% can’t say.

On the issue of whether abortion laws should be changed, 45% of Australians believe that they should be changed to make it easier to obtain an abortion, 39% believe the law should remain as it is, only 10% believe they should be changed to make it harder to obtain an abortion and 6% are unable to say.

Gary Morgan says:

 “Although the majority of Australians (62%) believe the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available to Australian women, slightly more Australians (65%) approve of surgical abortion for the termination of unwanted pregnancies.  Roy Morgan Qualitative Research shows some Australians obviously have concerns about the safety of the ‘Abortion Pill’.

“This finding comes as the Therapeutic Goods Amendment Bill passed through the Senate.  The bill will be referred to the House of Representatives next week.  MP’s are now aware that a majority of Australians believe the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available to Australian women.”

Of those who believe the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available to Australian women, many mentioned that it is a safer and less invasive option than surgical abortion, with comments such as: “I think a pill is a hell of a lot safer than surgery”, “It will save women having surgery.  It is inevitable that abortions are going to happen, so they should be done as safely as possible”, “It is less traumatic for patients.  If you are going to have an abortion then you are going to have it — whether it is surgically or otherwise”, “Because surgery is quite invasive”, “It reduces the risk to women to avoid having surgical abortions” and “It would be easier than going into surgery, and less harmful on the mother”.

Others commented that women have the right to choose RU486 as an abortion option, commenting:  “Women should be able to make their own choices.  Surgical abortions have a stigma — this would make it easier”, “Every woman should be able to make their own decision — not politicians!”, “It’s the woman’s right to do what she wants — not a Government issue”, “It’s the woman’s choice.  The death rate is minimal — Aspirin has a higher death rate”, “It is freedom of choice.  As long as it is not used as birth control, then yes” and “The ethics of the situation are rather difficult, but the whole aspect of it is something that must be decided by the individual person not a small group of people who believe they know better”.

Some respondents think the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available depending on the woman’s circumstances, saying: “I only agree if the pill is being used for the right reasons eg.  If the mother has to stay alive.  I don’t agree if it was to be used for unwanted pregnancies”, “It depends on the age.  Minors should not have access unless they have consent”, “It depends on the particulars of the person involved — there should be strict criteria”, “In certain circumstances — for anybody who has been raped, people with mental health, women with down syndrome and women who are going through change of life and will be too old to care properly for a teenage child” and “It should be made available in certain circumstances and after the woman has been counseled.  It should not be made freely available over the counter”.

Of the Australians who believe the ‘Abortion Pill’ should not be made available, many were pro life and against any form of abortion: “I am totally 100% opposed to abortion.  I happen to think that it is killing and I am opposed to killing”, “Because it’s murder”, “I am against abortion unless the mother’s life and unborn baby’s life is at danger”, “I believe if a soul is over 21 days old it is a life and it shouldn’t be allowed”, “Human life is when it is conceived.  I believe in freewill, but there are other birth control pills.  People have to take responsibility for their actions” and “Because I think life is very precious and I just don’t believe in abortion.  I don’t believe in taking a life of any kind”.

Many respondents had concerns about the safety of the ‘Abortion Pill’, saying: “I don’t think it has been researched properly and I don’t think women should be made guinea pigs to test it”, “Because it has side effects.  In general I think an abortion pill is fine, but this one specifically has problems”, “They say a lot of people have died from it in America.  They should do more tests before they put it on the market” and “There hasn’t been enough research into the problems it can create for women”.

Others commented that the “Abortion Pill’ would be too easy an option and may lead to promiscuity and regret: “Stick to surgery.  With a pill less thought would go into having an abortion.  Surgery requires thinking about”, “It is a bit easier to take a pill rather than going through the whole surgical procedure.  It may be something they regret”, “Abortion shouldn’t be made so easy to get access to”, “Because it is making it easier to.  It is not letting young people or anyone take responsibility for their actions.  If it is freely available it will create an easy way out” and “If abortion is too easy, people will get knocked up and won’t take as much care practicing safe sex”.

This special telephone Morgan Poll was conducted on the evenings of February 8-9, 2006, with an Australia-wide sample of 667 respondents aged 14 and over.                         

 

For further information:

Gary Morgan:

Office (03) 9224 5213

Mobile  0411 129 094

Home (03) 9419 3242

Michele Levine

Office (03) 9224 5215    

Mobile  0411 129 093

Home (03) 9817 3066

                  

Do You Approve Or Disapprove Of The Termination Of Unwanted Pregnancies Through Surgical Abortion?

Respondents were first asked:  “Next thinking about the termination of unwanted pregnancies through surgical abortion.  Do you approve or disapprove of the termination of unwanted pregnancies through surgical abortion?”

 

Total All

People 14+

Total All

People 14+

Total All

People 14+

Total All

People 14+

 

Feb 1995

Feb 1996

Feb 1998

8-9 Feb 2006

 

%

%

%

%

Approve of Surgical Abortion

55

57

65

65

Disapprove of Surgical Abortion

32

33

25

22

Can’t say

13

10

10

13

Total

100

100

100

100

Sixty-five percent each of men and women approve of surgical abortion for the termination of unwanted pregnancies.  Analysis by age shows that Australians aged 35-49 were the most likely (70%) to approve of surgical abortion, with those aged 18-24  the least likely (63%).

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis by Sex and Age

 

8-9 Feb 2006

Men

Women

14-17#

18-24

25-34

35-49

50+

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Approve of Surgical Abortion

65

65

65

64

63

69

70

60

Disapprove of Surgical Abortion

22

20

24

28

29

20

18

23

Can’t say

13

15

11

8

8

11

12

17

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

# Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution

People living in capital cities were more likely that those in country areas (66% cf 63%) to approve of surgical abortion. West Australians were the most likely (71%) to approve of surgical abortion, with people from New South Wales the least likely (59%).

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis by Region and State

8-9 Feb 2006

CapitalCities

CountryAreas

NSW

Vic

Qld

SA/NT

WA

Tas#

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Approve of Surgical Abortion

65

66

63

59

69

67

64

71

64

Disapprove of Surgical Abortion

22

22

23

24

22

21

25

17

19

Can’t say

13

12

14

17

9

12

11

12

17

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Analysis by voting intention shows that Greens supporters were the most likely (84%) to approve of surgical abortion for the termination of unwanted pregnancies, with Family First supporters the least likely (45%).

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis by Federal Voting Intention

8-9 Feb 2006

L-NP

ALP

Aust.

Dems#

TheGreens

OneNation#

FamilyFirst#

Ind/

Other#

NoAnswer

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Approve of Surgical Abortion

65

66

64

60

84

68

45

60

61

Disapprove of Surgical Abortion

22

22

22

14

5

21

49

25

27

Can’t say

13

12

14

26

11

11

6

15

12

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

# Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution

Should Law Be Changed To Make It Easier Or Harder To Obtain An Abortion?

Respondents were then asked:  “Currently in most Australian States abortions are illegal unless the mother’s life is in danger.  In your opinion, do you think the law on abortion should be changed to make it easier to obtain an abortion, harder to obtain an abortion or do you think the law should remain as it is?”

 

Total All

People 14+

Total All

People 14+

 

Feb 1998

8-9 Feb 2006

 

%

%

Easier to obtain an abortion

47

45

Remain as is

38

39

Harder to obtain an abortion

10

10

Can’t say

5

6

Total

100

100

Analysis by age shows that those aged 25-34 were the most likely (50%) to think the law should be changed to make it easier to obtain an abortion, while those aged over 50 were the least likely (40%).

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis by Sex and Age

 

8-9 Feb 2006

Men

Women

14-17#

18-24

25-34

35-49

50+

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Easier to obtain an abortion

45

45

45

46

45

50

49

40

Remain as is

39

39

39

42

39

40

36

40

Harder to obtain an abortion

10

9

11

11

15

4

8

12

Can’t say

6

7

5

1

1

6

7

8

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

# Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution

Australians living in capital cities were more likely than those living in country areas (47% cf 43%) to think the law should be changed to make it easier to obtain an abortion.  Tasmanians were the most likely (56%) and Victorians the least likely (44%) to think the law should be changed to make it easier to obtain an abortion.

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis by Region and State

8-9 Feb 2006

CapitalCities

CountryAreas

NSW

Vic

Qld

SA/NT

WA

Tas

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Easier to obtain an abortion

45

47

43

45

44

48

40

46

56

Remain as is

39

37

41

36

41

35

50

46

24

Harder to obtain an abortion

10

10

10

11

8

14

5

5

12

Can’t say

6

6

6

8

7

3

5

3

8

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

 Analysis by voting intention shows that Greens supporters were the most likely (59%) to think the law should be changed to make it easier to obtain an abortion, whilst Family First supporters were the least likely (18%).

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis by Federal Voting Intention

8-9 Feb 2006

L-NP

ALP

Aust.

Dems#

TheGreens

OneNation#

FamilyFirst#

Ind/

Other#

No Answer

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Easier to obtain an abortion

45

45

42

52

59

41

18

51

50

Remain as is

39

41

40

48

28

35

62

30

34

Harder to obtain an abortion

10

8

11

-

7

13

20

15

9

Can’t say

6

6

7

-

6

11

-

4

7

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

# Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution

 

Australians who approve of surgical abortion were far more likely to think the law should be changed to make it easier to obtain an abortion than those who disapprove of surgical abortion (64% cf 4%).

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis By View On Surgical Abortion

8-9 Feb 2006

Approve

Disapprove

Can’t say

 

%

%

%

%

Easier to obtain an abortion

45

64

4

26

Remain as is

39

29

60

48

Harder to obtain an abortion

10

3

31

7

Can’t say

6

4

5

19

Total

100

100

100

100

Should Abortion Pill Be Made Available To Australian Women?

Respondents were then asked:  Now thinking about the ‘Abortion Pill’.  There is currently a proposal to introduce the drug RU486, also known as the ‘Abortion Pill’, into Australia.  Do you think the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available to Australian Women, or not?”

Men were more likely (65%) than women (58%) to think the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available to Australian women.  Analysis by age shows that those aged 35-49 were the most likely (70%) to think the ‘Abortion Pill should be made available, with those aged 18-24 the least likely (51%).

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis by Sex and Age

 

8-9 Feb 2006

Men

Women

14-17#

18-24

25-34

35-49

50+

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, make available

62

65

58

53

51

68

70

58

No, not make available

31

28

34

40

42

28

23

33

Can’t say

7

7

8

7

7

4

7

9

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

# Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution

Australians living in capital cities were more likely than their country counterparts (63% cf 59%) to think the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available to Australian women.  Victorians were the most likely (70%) and South Australians the least likely (54%) to think the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available.

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis by Region and State

8-9 Feb 2006

CapitalCities

CountryAreas

NSW

Vic

Qld

SA/NT

WA

Tas

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, make available

62

63

59

58

70

60

54

62

64

No, not make available

31

29

34

34

28

32

33

26

28

Can’t say

7

8

7

8

2

8

13

12

8

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

 Analysis by voting intention shows that Democrats supporters were the most likely (75%) to think the ‘Abortion Pill should be made available, whilst Family First supporters were the least likely (46%).

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis by Federal Voting Intention

8-9 Feb 2006

L-NP

ALP

Aust.

Dems#

TheGreens

OneNation#

FamilyFirst#

Ind/

Other#

NoAnswer

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, make available

62

58

67

75

70

67

46

61

53

No, not make available

31

33

28

-

19

33

48

33

41

Can’t say

7

9

5

25

11

-

6

6

6

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

# Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution

Australians who approve of surgical abortion were more likely to think the ‘Abortion Pill’ should be made available to Australian women than those who disapprove of surgical abortion (78% cf 19%).

 

Total All

People 14+

Analysis By View On Surgical Abortion

8-9 Feb 2006

Approve

Disapprove

Can’t say

 

%

%

%

%

Yes, make available

62

78

19

50

No, not make available

31

17

74

28

Can’t say

7

5

7

22

Total

100

100

100

100

The above tables show Australians’ attitudes towards Surgical Abortion and the 'Abortion Pill', analysed by Sex, Age, Region, State and Federal Voting Intention.

The complete analysis of results by demographics and regions is available on subscription.

 

The Morgan Poll is conducted by the ONLY Australian member of the Gallup International Association.

No Other public opinion poll taken in Australia has this qualification.