Poll: Young Canadians want to restrict abortion to 12 weeks

Nearly a quarter said life should be protected from the moment of conception onward.
Thu Mar 21, 2013 - 2:26 pm EST

OTTAWA, March 21, 2013 ( - A majority of young Canadians say abortions should not be legal after 12 weeks gestation, according to the findings of a recent Environics poll commissioned by LifeCanada, the national educational pro-life organization.

The poll was part of Environics’ National Omnibus Survey which polled 2,021 Canadians between January 24 and February 5.

The survey found that almost 80 percent of 18-29 year-olds polled opposed legal third trimester abortions and 55 percent opposed second trimester abortions.

Two-thirds of women opposed third trimester abortions and 49 percent opposed second trimester abortions.

In the general population, 65 percent said abortion should be illegal in the last three months of pregnancy and 46 percent said it should be illegal in the second trimester.

During the poll, participants were given information about fetal development and informed that at present there are no legal restrictions on abortion in Canada at any stage of pregnancy.

They were then asked at what stage the law should protect human life.

Sixty percent said there should be legal protection before birth; 23 percent said from conception on; 13 percent thought after two months gestation; 14 percent after three months; and 10 percent from six months on. In total, 50 percent thought the law should protect human life at the end of the first trimester.

“It’s not surprising that Canadians would support legal protection for infants in the womb when they hear how developed they are within the first weeks of gestation,” said Lisa Smith, president of LifeCanada. “We know that Canadians are poorly informed in this area. Most still think abortion is illegal in Canada after the first three months of pregnancy.”

The Environics poll results were also split up by geographic region. The survey found that a majority in all regions and demographic groups say that human life should receive legal protection some time prior to birth.

The view that the law should protect human life at conception is highest in the Prairie provinces (33 percent), while Quebecers are the most likely to say that human life should receive legal protection only at birth (39 percent).


In Ontario, 25 percent of participants said legal protection for the unborn should begin at conception and an equal number (25 percent) said at birth.

Support for legal abortion at all three stages of pregnancy is strongest in Quebec, although even a majority (59 percent) of Quebecers believe it should be illegal in the last trimester. The view that abortion should be illegal in the first and second three months of pregnancy is higher in the Prairie provinces than the rest of the country.

British Columbia had the highest percentage of respondents with no opinion on when the law should protect human life. In all, 18 percent said they did not know or did not answer the question.

Lisa Smith remarked that the poll result showing a vast majority of young Canadians supporting restrictions on abortion is something politicians must take into account and act upon.

“It’s encouraging to see that young people want legal restrictions on late abortions,” said Smith.

“These youth were raised in an abortion-on-demand culture and they know the damage it has wreaked among their families. It’s also interesting that women are more supportive of restrictions than men. Like the youth, women know the pain of abortion. It’s time for our politicians to listen to those voices and act.”

Ms. Smith also noted that the recent furor over 491 Canadian babies who were born alive after failed abortions, and left to die, was a wake up call.

“People were horrified to hear about babies here in Canada surviving late term abortions and then dying,” she said. “We don’t know how and why they died, because the information isn’t usually reported. But thanks to a persistent blogger, we finally got a few statistics and that really shocked people.”

Pro-life blogger Patricia Maloney first discovered the data about the abortions in the Statistics Canada online database.

The federal agency later confirmed the information in an e-mail to LifeSiteNews.

The poll data will be available on the LifeCanada website in the near future.


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