Friday, November 05, 2004

Only 24 Per Cent of Urban South Africans Back Abortion 'Rights'

SA abortion survey: 24% in favour
Cape Town
04 November 2004 10:28
Twenty-four percent of urban-dwelling South Africans are in favour of abortion on demand, a market research company said on Thursday.

Research Surveys said in a statement they had surveyed a sample of 500 adult South Africans living in metropolitan areas and with access to a landline telephone.

The company said the issue was clearly one where people held strong views, with only three percent saying they "don't know", although this rose to 11% among Indians.

The telephone study revealed a strong correlation with wealth on the issue, with only 18% in favour in households earning less than R6 000 per month.

Agreement rose to just over 40% among people in households earning over R15 000 a month.

Gender differences were minimal, but different population groups gave different responses, with 30% of Indians agreeing, whites 31%, Africans 20% and coloureds 16%.

The study found no differences by city, or "perhaps surprisingly", by marital status.

When those who said "no" or "don't know" to abortion on demand were asked "What if a woman was raped and fell pregnant?" 65% of these people agreed that abortion would then become justified.

This made a total of 73% of people agreeing that abortion would be justified in certain circumstances.

Approval of abortion in extreme circumstance was more likely from those aged 35 and older, and those in the middle income brackets of between R3 500 and R15 000.

Seventy percent of women who had said "no" to the abortion on demand question now agreed, compared to 59% of men.

Whites were also more likely to agree at 74%.

Respondents were also asked if nurses should be allowed to perform abortions. A proposal that specially trained nurses will be permitted to perform abortions without a doctor's assistance was approved by the National Assembly, but has not yet been passed by the National Council of Provinces.

Fourteen percent of people in the sample felt that nurses should be allowed to perform abortions.

People in households earning more than R10 000 were more likely to feel this was acceptable at 22%, while Indians, at 25%, were the most accepting.

"Even more controversial is that, even amongst those in favour of abortion on demand, only a third are in favour of nurses being allowed to perform them without a doctor's assistance. This drops to 21% among females, the people most affected," read the statement. - Sapa