Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters are more likely to support moves to tighten up Britain’s abortion laws than Conservative and Ukip voters, a new opinion poll has revealed.
The ComRes survey on abortion also found that women voters in 14 key marginal constituencies were more pro-life then men on practically every issue considered.
The survey comes as a new e-democracy website was set up to alert the public to the position of prospective parliamentary candidates on life issues.
The poll repeatedly revealed that Labour and Lib Dem supporters were generally more pro-life than those intending to vote either Conservative or Ukip.
A total of 43 per cent of women said they would support moves to halve the legal upper time limit for abortions from 24 weeks to 12 weeks to bring it into line with many other European countries. But just 32 per cent of men said they would support such a radical reduction.
There was also a huge gap in ages, with moves to halve the upper time limit approved by 48 per cent of the youngest group of people, those aged between 18 and 25 years, and opposed most strongly by one of the oldest categories, those aged between 55 and 64 years, of whom just 31 per supported the measure.
The voting intentions of the 1,002 people who took part in the online poll revealed that 40 per cent of Labour and Lib Dem voters supported a radical reduction in the upper limit compared to 34 per cent of Conservative voters and 38 per cent of people who said they would vote for Ukip.
Labour and Lib Dem voters also showed themselves as more pro-life than Tories and Ukip with 46 and 52 per cent of them respectively disagreeing with the statement: “The foetus should have no legal protection of its own.” A total of 40 per cent of Conservative voters and 38 per cent of Ukip voters disagreed with the same statement. Conservative voters showed themselves to be more pro-life than Labour on the subject of gender abortions, however.
Seventy-seven per cent of women backed an explicit ban on sex-selective abortions compared to 73 per cent of men but 82 per cent of Conservative voters supported a ban compared to 70 per cent of Labour voters.
On the subject of late abortions of Down’s syndrome children, women again were more pro-life than men, with 43 per cent objecting to the practice compared to the 35 per cent of males who expressed the same view.
Lib Dem voters were most strongly opposed to the practice, with 57 per cent saying it should be illegal compared to 41 per cent of Labour voters, 37 per cent of Conservatives and 33 per cent of Ukip voters.
Professor Jack Scarisbrick, the national chairman of Life, the pregnancy counselling charity, said he was surprised that so many Labour supporters were pro-life given that party’s leaders were “doctrinaire abortionists”.
But he said it has for a long time been his understanding that women were more sympathetic to the pro-life cause than men.
“Abortionism suits men, it’s for the chaps,” he said. “For women to support abortion serves male chauvinists with the biggest victory. That is what we have always been saying. The feminists have betrayed the sisterhood on this issue because they have played right into the hands of the aggressive male.”