The Pro-Life Campaign has called on The Irish Examiner to retract a front-page story claiming that 75% of Irish doctors support open access to abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The PLC has said the story, which has the sub-heading ‘Poll of 400 medics shows support for liberalising abortion regime’, is “fake news”.
The poll, originally reported in The Irish Medical Times, was conducted on Facebook, Twitter, and the publication’s website, saw 73% of 388 respondents say they supported the introduction of abortion on request in a pregnancy’s first 12 weeks.
The story attracted a huge backlash within hours of being published, and both The Irish Times and the Journal.ie withdrew the story from their websites.
Accusing The Irish Examiner of having “misled the public by giving [the poll] such prominence”, the PLC said the poll had been open to anybody, and was not restricted to the country’s approximately 5,000 doctors.
PLC spokesperson Dr Ruth Cullen said: “For The Irish Examiner to claim the findings were ‘the most substantial survey of medics on the issue to date’ creates an entirely false impression. Anybody, not just medics, were able to vote in this poll. The only criteria for voting was a Facebook or Twitter account. The flippant use of such faulty methodology doesn’t augur well for the forthcoming referendum campaign.”
Earlier this week, the National Association of General Practitioners expressed disappointment at the Government’s lack of consultation with GP representative groups regarding proposals to repeal Ireland’s constitutional protections for the unborn and legislate for abortion.
Separately, the PLC is considering their legal options against The Irish Examiner in connection with a false claim on today’s front page that a graphic anti-abortion poster, likening abortion to child abuse and placed outside Leinster House, belongs to their organisation.