Canadians are perceived to be more supportive of legalized abortion than their American neighbors, but a new poll released by LifeCanada today shows 72 percent want to see more legal protections in place for unborn children.
LifeCanada commissioned Environics Research to conduct a national survey about the attitude of Canadians on abortion — at a time when there are no legal restrictions on abortion at any stage of pregnancy. The poll asked 2000 Canadians for their opinions on abortion and it contained a 2.2 percent margin of error.
Seventy-two percent of Canadians surveyed in the poll support legal protection for unborn babies with most (62%) wanting protection from conception or starting from two-three months into pregnancy. Another ten percent favor protection for unborn children under law starting at six months into pregnancy.
In the poll, participants were informed who the heart of an unborn child beating about three weeks after conception, brain waves can be detected within two months of conception and all organs are in place by two months. When asked when human life should be protected, 28% said from conception, 17% said after two months and another 17% said after three months. Only 20% supported the current policy in Canada of no protection for human life until birth.
The survey finds that the view that human life should be protected at conception on is highest in Atlantic Canada (35%) and Manitoba/Saskatchewan (35%), and lowest in British Columbia (26%) and Quebec (25%), particularly in Montreal (20%).
The survey found women (74%) are more likely than men (67%) to support protection for unborn children before birth and 81 percent of respondents believed abortions should not be legal in the last trimester of pregnancy.
Canadians were also asked about sex selection abortions which target female babies. In several countries, including India and China, girls are routinely aborted leading to skewed demographics in which adult males far outnumber females and the LifeCanada survey found 92% of Canadians thought sex selection abortions should be illegal in Canada.
The 2,000 Canadian residents surveyed in the poll also said they did not support tax-funded abortions except in emergency situations when the mother’s life was threatened or in cases of rape and incest. Taxpayers currently pay for almost all the abortions performed in Canada — more than 100,000 annually. Yet, only 30% of those polled support paying for all abortions with taxpayer funds — with just 13 percent saying abortions should always be paid for by the mother getting the abortion and 545 saying taxpayer-funded abortions should be limited to rare circumstances.
The opinion that abortions should be funded using tax dollars, but only in cases of medical emergencies is highest in Atlantic Canada (63%) and lowest in Quebec (50%) and British Columbia (49%). The view that abortions should always be paid using the tax-funded health care system is highest in Quebec (36%), particularly in Montreal (40%) and lowest in Atlantic Canada (20%).
“There is clearly a considerable gulf between government policies on abortion and Canadians’ opinions,” said LifeCanada President Monica Roddis. “Canadians strongly oppose abortion being legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy and they don’t want to pay for them except in exceptional circumstances.”
“Yet our governments refuse to deal with this issue,” she said. “They won’t reopen the debate as they like to say. Is that because the more Canadians consider this issue, the more likely they are to disagree with the status quo?”
“We will continue to educate Canadians on this issue and we hope that the polls add to a healthy and productive debate across this country,” Roddis concluded.
Read the full report on Abortion Views in Canada.