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59% of Canadians fine with status quo on abortion, poll claims

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A pro-life group is criticizing a new Angus Reid poll showing 59 percent of Canadians accept the status quo of no law governing abortion.

The national pro-life education group LifeCanada says the poll clashes with more than a decade of Environics national polls they have commissioned showing majority support for abortion restrictions.

Conducted May 16 with 1,1505 of Angus Reid’s online panelists and published online July 21, the poll’s abortion question stated: “Canada has had no abortion law since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the former abortion law was unconstitutional in 1989 [sic]. Which of the following options would you prefer to see Canada take on this?”

According to the results,

  • 59 percent said, “Leave it entirely alone, we are fine with no abortion law”;
  • 23 percent said, “Make some basic law that imposes some restrictions”;
  • 10 percent said, “Re-introduce a set of laws that would restrict access to abortions except in some special circumstances”;
  • and 7 percent said, “Outlaw abortion altogether (except when the life of the mother is in danger).”

Thus while 59 percent are fine with no law governing abortion, 40 percent would like to see some form of regulation.

Canada has lacked any law governing abortion since 1988 — not 1989 as the poll question states — when the Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional. The Court did not declare abortion a woman’s right, but instead allowed Parliament to solve the country’s “abortion question” by enacting new legislation.

Last year an Environics Research Group poll, conducted on behalf of LifeCanada, found 60 percent of Canadians would have human life receiving legal protection “some time prior to birth.”

LifeCanada believes the discrepancy between the two abortion polls can be found in the way the questions were framed.

The 2013 Environics poll asks: “At the present time in Canada, there is no legal protection for human life before birth. According to medical research, a foetal heart begins to beat about 3 weeks after conception. Brain waves can be detected within 2 months after conception. By 2 months all organs and body parts are in place. In your opinion, at what point should the law protect human life?”

“When it comes to abortion there is so much misinformation and ignorance that getting answers truly reflective of Canadians' opinions is a challenge,” Lisa Smith, president of LifeCanada’s board, told LifeSiteNews.

“Few Canadians are aware that roughly 300 abortions (a passenger jet full) take place in this country every day and that Canada stands alone with China and North Korea as the only countries lacking an abortion law. These are facts worth emphasizing, no matter the latest poll results,” she said.

LifeCanada Executive Director Natalie Sonnen criticized the Angus poll for throwing out the word “abortion” without explaining anything about it.

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“The term abortion is given no definition or context and is used as though the people taking the poll are experts on the subject. There are huge misconceptions surrounding this issue that involve everything from what the actual abortion procedure consists of, to when a human heart starts to beat. The vast majority of the population has no idea what is actually involved in a surgical abortion,” she told the Catholic Register.

“Considering that human lives are at stake, when the issue is asked in terms of protection of life, the percentages are significantly different,” she said.

Sonnen said the Angus poll only perpetuates “unwarranted biases” about abortion already existing within the population.

Shachi Kurl, vice president of Angus Reid Global, did not respond to LifeSiteNews’ request for comment on LifeCanada’s criticism of the poll.

The poll comes at a time when abortion is at the center of national discussion following Justin Trudeau’s announcement that Liberal MPs must vote “pro-choice,” and as the abortion lobby pressures New Brunswick to fund abortions in private clinics. 

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