OTTAWA, Ontario, October 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A new Environics poll shows that 72% of Canadians want legal protection for children in the womb, with 28% supporting protections from conception.

The national pro-life educational group LifeCanada, which commissioned the poll, says it is further evidence that Canadians oppose the status quo of state-funded abortion-on-demand and are calling on the government to act immediately.

“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 continued. “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?”

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The poll suggests even stronger pro-life views in the country than an Abacus poll conducted in advance of the National March for Life in May, which showed 59% wanting some legal protections and 27% wanting them to begin at conception.

While the poll in May had only 8% supporting an outright ban on abortion, the Environics poll shows 26% wanting it banned even in the first trimester.

Participants in the Environics poll, conducted from September 13-25, were given details about fetal development such as the fact that the heart begins 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.

Peter Ryan, executive director of New Brunswick Right to Life and a LifeCanada board member, said he thinks these details accounted for the high level of support for legal protections.

“The more such information we gave people, the more we could change public opinion,” he said.  “If we could get more information out there, the numbers would go right through the roof.”

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.

Significantly, women (74%) are more likely than men (67%) to support protection before birth. Eighty-one percent of women said abortion should generally be illegal in the third trimester.

On the funding of abortion, 54% said abortions should only be covered by provincial health plans in cases of emergency and 13% said they should never be covered.  Only 30% supported the government paying for all abortions.

The poll also asked about sex selection abortions targeting female babies, which has led to a disproportionately large male population among Indians, Chinese, and other ethnic groups.  An astonishing 92% of Canadians thought sex selection abortions should be illegal in Canada.

Just this month, the Ontario pro-life educational group Alliance for Life launched a four-month campaign called We Want the Debate, with the goal of overcoming the censorship of debate on abortion among the vast majority of Canada’s political class.

Roddis says LifeCanada hopes the poll will “add to a healthy and productive debate across this country.”

The poll was part of Environics’ National Omnibus poll, and queried 2,000 Canadians from across the country.  The margin of error is 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

LifeCanada directed those interested in the full poll to contact them at 1-866-780-5433.