Wednesday August 4, 2010

No Quebec “Consensus” on Abortion, Poll Shows

By Patrick B. Craine

QUEBEC, August 4, 2010 ( – A new abortion poll seems to belie the supposed “consensus” of Quebeckers in favor of state-funded abortion-on-demand, suggesting that much of the populace considers the debate far from closed.

A nationwide Angus Reid poll released Tuesday found that 38% of Quebec respondents agreed that a debate on abortion is long overdue. That figure was the highest of all the provinces, with Alberta coming in at 33%. Meanwhile, nearly half (49%) of Quebeckers said that they do not want the debate, which was the lowest percentage among the provinces, tied with Alberta.

Additionally, the poll revealed a plurality of opinion on the public funding of abortions. While 49 per cent of Quebeckers thought all abortions should be funded, 38 per cent said they should be funded only in “medical emergencies” and 9 percent said they should not be funded at all.

Nationwide, the poll found that only 21 percent of Canadians are aware that the country currently lacks any legal restrictions on abortion. When informed, 67 percent do not support that status quo.

Angus Reid polled 1,022 Canadians on the internet from July 7-8. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent, 19 times out of 20.

The results would seem to indicate that the opinions of Quebeckers on abortion are not represented by their elected officials. On May 19, the Quebec National Assembly passed an all-party motion unanimously, in a vote of 109-0, to reaffirm that women have the right “to free choice and to free and accessible abortion services.”

Premier Jean Charest claimed that that vote “reflects the consensus on this issue in Quebec society,” and declared that for Quebec the abortion “battle is over and here there is no turning back.”

The Quebec motion was part of a firestorm of reaction to May 16th comments from Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the former archbishop of Quebec and now prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, who affirmed the Catholic teaching on the inviolability of unborn life, even in cases of rape.

Ouellet responded May 26th by declaring that the “abortion debate is ON” in a momentous and well-publicized press conference hosted with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa.

Georges Buscemi, president of Campaigne Quebec Vie, the province’s branch of Campaign Life Coalition, said the politicians turned the abortion motion into “a symbolic, almost quasi-religious, … ex cathedra pronouncement that the debate is closed.”

He noted, however, that the Angus Reid poll shows clearly that Quebeckers do not agree. “The politicians are kind of trying to force something that really isn’t there,” he said. The 38 percent calling for debate is “a strong plurality. There’s an unease there that they’re trying to ignore, obviously.”

Asked about the disconnect between the politicians’ stances on abortion and that of the populace, Buscemi said, “Quebec is a neo-feminist matriarchy. Anything that levels the playing field for women in the eyes of radical feminists – abortion, the five-dollar daycares – is not safe to touch.”

“You’re going to be branded as somebody who wants to go back, as a reactionary, a counter-revolutionary against the Quiet Revolution,” he explained. “So it’s one of those issues that it’s not worth raising, because you lose all of your political capital.”

At least half, if not more, of the pro-life contingent in the province is silent, “compromised by their separatism,” he added. “They’re willing to shut up about these issues because they want Quebec to be a sovereign nation first,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons that the Quebec pro-life movement is about half of what it should be.”

See related coverage:

After Unanimous Anti-Life Vote: Not Even One Pro-Life Pol in Quebec?

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