Canadians Don’t Know Abortions Legal Throughout Pregnancy, New Poll Finds

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 4, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canadians Don’t Know Abortions Legal Throughout Pregnancy, New Poll Finds

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 4
, 2010

Ottawa, Canada ( — A new poll of Canadians finds they are very uninformed about abortion law in Canada and are unaware that abortions are allowed throughout pregnancy for any reason. That’s the finding from an online survey of 1,022 Canadian adult conducted by the Angus-Reid polling firm.

The survey found just 21 percent of Canadians know a woman can request an abortion at any time during her pregnancy, with no restrictions whatsoever.

Conversely, 41 percent of Canadians are under the impression abortions are only available to women during the first three months of pregnancy.

Another 15 percent of respondents think abortions are only allowed in the first trimester and only if the woman’s life is in danger, if there has been a rape, or if the unborn child has severe medical problems. And 10 percent believe women can only have an abortion if their life is in medical danger.

Despite what Canadians think the current status of abortion law is nationwide, they continue to strongly support legal abortions, the Angus Reid poll says.

Some 27 percent want "no restrictions" on abortions and 22 percent want no limits on abortions in the first trimester and, during the reminder of pregnancy, only if the woman’s life is in danger, they are victims of rape or incest, or if the unborn child has severe birth defects. None of the other positions offered gained more than 15 percent.

Looking at abortion another way, 41 percent of Canadians say abortions should be legal in all cases while 23 percent want abortions legal with some limits. On the pro-life side, 18 percent want abortions legal only in cases of emergency and 9 percent would only allow abortions to save a woman’s life while another 6 percent say abortions should always be illegal.

Still, Canadians truly support some limits on abortions when asked.

A majority of Canadians (55%) think women under the age of 18 should require consent from their parents or legal guardians to get an abortion while just 32 percent disagree.

Also, half of respondents (50%) believe women should be given enough access to information about different options such as counseling and adoption before having an abortion while 31 percent disagree.

And a large majority, 79 percent, would support provincial legislation requiring health workers give information about alternatives to abortion to pregnant women.

Abortion and health care have been a huge topic for debate in the United States and 44 percent of Canadians believe abortions should be funded under the taxpayer-financed health care system. Another 39 percent say abortion funding should be limited to emergency cases.

Although most Canadians (55%) think there is no point in re-opening the debate on abortion in the country, three-in-ten respondents (30%) believe it is time to re-open the discussion.

In May 1969, the Canadian government approved the passage of a bill that took off the books many of the protective laws the nation had in place.

Then, in January 1988, the nation’s abortion law was struck down from the Criminal Code by the Supreme Court of Canada resulting in full legal abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.

As a result, there have been more than 3.5 million abortions in Canada, resulting the death of babies before birth and injuring countless women.


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