DUBLIN, Ireland -- Irish voters are split over proposed legal changes that would ease the country's constitutional ban on abortion, according to an opinion poll published Saturday.
Thirty-nine percent of respondents to the Irish Times/Market Research Bureau of Ireland study supported the proposals, while 34 percent were opposed.
Another 21 percent said they had no opinion and 6 percent said they would not vote in a referendum on the changes.
Prime Minister Bertie Ahern's government must hold a referendum, possibly in the spring, on a bill that would allow doctors to terminate pregnancies when women's lives were at risk.
Ahern has said the bill is designed to reconcile conflicting demands in the country's constitution, which bars all abortions, and a 1992 Supreme Court judgment that abortion should be permitted when a woman might otherwise die.
The proposed law would allow doctors to terminate pregnancies if the woman's life was considered at risk, except in instances of threatened suicide.
Pollsters interviewed about 1,500 people across Ireland in person during January. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.