A new national survey indicates that while most Australians believe women should have access to abortion, most Australians are conflicted because they also have pro-life convictions.
The findings come from privately funded studies conducted between 2004 and 2006 by the Sexton Marketing Group. They are published in a new book, Common Ground: Seeking an Australian consensus on abortion and sex education, reports The Australian.
The book argues that Australians are both pro-choice and pro-life. For example, one survey, conducted across a sample of 1,200 people, found that although 83 percent supported a woman's right to choose an abortion, 88 percent agreed it would be good to reduce the current rate.
Sixty-two per cent said women should consult a counseling service to ensure they were aware of the alternatives to abortion, but there was consensus that counseling should be non-directive.
The two-year study, conducted in different regions of the country, indicates that 74 percent of respondents believe women seeking abortions should undergo a compulsory period of reflection.
Furthermore, more than half of respondents thought doctors should show the stage of fetal development to patients using models, pictures or ultrasound before a decision is made.
The survey also shows there is confusion about emergency contraception. The study showed that 59 percent either thought RU486 was the same as the morning-after pill or didn't know if it was.
The majority of respondents — 95 percent — wanted sex education in the curriculum.