Poll: United Church members significantly more liberal than Canadian public on abortion, euthanasia

The results come after decades of activism for greater abortion access and same-sex “marriage” by the denomination’s leadership.
Thu Jul 12, 2012 - 10:22 am EST

TORONTO, July 12, 2012 ( – The United Church of Canada’s quasi-official magazine is touting a new poll suggesting that members of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination are more liberal on social issues than Canadians at large.

The United Church Observer says the results debunk the stereotype that Christians trend more “conservative.”

The results come after decades of activism for greater abortion access and same-sex “marriage” by the denomination’s leadership.


The magazine released the results of its annual opinion survey this week, revealing that churchgoing United Church members are far more likely to support physician-assisted suicide, abortion, and embryonic stem cell research than Canadians at large.

On abortion, 83% of readers said the decision “should be up to the woman,” compared to 69% of the general public. Strikingly, 25% of Canadians in general said abortion is “never acceptable,” while 10% of United Church readers said the same.

Forty-two percent of readers strongly supported taking stem cells from “spare embryos” compared to 27% of the general public.

Seventy-six percent of readers said they support a physician ending the life of a consenting terminally ill patient with a lethal dose of medication, compared to 59 percent of the general public.

Last month, a B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled in the Carter v. Canada case that Canada’s ban on euthanasia and assisted suicide is unconstitutional. Significantly, Gloria Taylor, the woman at the centre of the case who suffers from ALS, is a member of the United Church of Canada.

The poll was conducted in March by Jane Armstrong Research Associates. The firm surveyed 904 Observer readers and 1,000 Canadians.

The United Church’s advocacy for abortion goes back at least as far as 1980, when they released a policy statement on contraception and abortion urging the government not to regulate abortion and to ensure access to it throughout the country. They said “abortion is acceptable only when, after careful consideration, the medical, social, and/or economic situation makes it the most responsible alternative.”

In 2010, the denomination’s leadership called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fund abortion in the Third World as part of his Muskoka maternal health initiative.

“It is puzzling that Canada may seek to restrict access to abortion in other countries through its aid funding when here, in Canada, access to abortion has been a safe, legal and funded option through our national health care plan since 1988,” they wrote. “The health and well-being of Canadian women has been greatly enhanced because of this access. We know that other nations are willing to fund such programs without restrictions.”

In 2009, LifeSiteNews reported that a United Church minister in Fredericton was serving as an escort at the Morgentaler abortion facility to help women bypass pro-life activists.

Dr. Christopher Levan, a minister at Wilmot United Church, told LifeSiteNews at the time that he was doing it to help women avoid “harassment” by pro-lifers.

“These are women who have a legal right to this particular medical procedure and there is enough distress without having to run the gauntlet of [people] who want to change their mind,” he said.

A representative of the United Church of Canada told LifeSiteNews they had no spokespersons available to comment.

For more information, visit the United Church Observer’s website.

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