Poll: Nearly half of Israelis favor aborting pregnancy if child is blind

Welfare minister says that poll results indicate that "there is no real acceptance" of people with disabilities in society.

Empty baby cot 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Empty baby cot 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A majority of the population, 79 percent, do not believe blind people are a burden on society, according to a survey released on Monday by the Welfare Ministry ahead of Blind Day.
However, nearly half of the respondents, 49.3% said a woman should abort her pregnancy if she discovered her child would be born blind, while only 26.8% responded they would not recommend an abortion.
“The survey results indicate the importance of the continued integration of people with disabilities in society, frameworks and normative life in the community. On the one hand there is empathy for the respondents. On the other hand there is no real acceptance,” said Welfare Minister Meir Cohen on Monday.
As part of the survey, the respondents were asked to provide responses to various hypothetical situations, in an attempt to uncover and understand their attitudes towards blind people. The survey covered a number of topics, including abortions, dating, defining blind people, independence and influence on society.
According to the findings, when the respondents were asked what they would recommend should their friend meet a date over the Internet who turned out to be blind, 66% said they would be in favor of continuing the date.
Some 73.6% of women and 58% of men said they would recommend their friend “go for it,” while only 6.9% of women and 16.1% of men said they should immediately end the relationship.
In addition, 32% defined a blind person as one with “keen senses” and 30% said they believed blind people are “worthy of admiration.”
The survey was conducted by Panels research institute in May 2014 via an Internet questionnaire among 302 respondents aged 18 years old and above, comprising a representative sample of the Jewish population.
Blind Day will be held on June 6, to represent 6/6 (20/20) perfect vision. The Welfare Ministry further declared that this year, the events surrounding Blind Day would be spread out throughout the month of June.