OTTAWA, October 26, 2004 ( – A Focus Canada poll, conducted by Environics Research in September and October 2004, shows that 68% of Canadians polled said Canadian law should protect human life before birth.

One-third, 33%, of the 2,027 Canadians polled said legal protection should begin at conception. Almost one-quarter, 24%, said it should begin after three months of pregnancy and 11% said after six months of pregnancy. Only 28% of those polled agreed that legal protection should begin at birth, the current situation in Canadian law.

Women were more likely to favour protection before birth than men, 71% versus 65%.

The poll, commissioned by LifeCanada, a national educational pro-life group, also asked about informed consent, consent for minors seeking abortions and tax funding of abortion. Respondents were asked if they support or oppose laws requiring physicians to tell women about stages of fetal development, including an ultrasound scan, and possible complications and side effects following an abortion.

Almost three quarters, 73% of those polled, supported such laws, including seven in ten in all regions except British Columbia (67%). Only 26% of those polled say that “abortions should always be paid using the tax-funded health care system.”

Currently in Canada, taxpayers pay the full cost of all hospital abortions and in BC, Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland abortions at private clinics are publicly funded as well. Most other provinces pay at least part of the costs of abortions at private clinics.

“Over half, 54%, of those polled said abortions should be paid for by taxpayers “only in medical emergencies such as a threat to the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest.” An additional 18% thought paying for abortions should be a private responsibility.

Over half, 55%, said that parental consent should be required before minors under the age of 18 could have an abortion. 42% opposed parental consent.

“We’ve been told repeatedly that Canadians support abortion on demand paid for by taxpayers,” said LifeCanada President Joanne Byfield. “This poll once again shows us that the majority supports human rights for all human beings, including those at the very earliest stages of life.”

Byfield pointed out that this is the third year in a row that LifeCanada has polled Canadians on life issues. “Support for legal protection before birth, informed consent and for de-insuring abortion has increased each year,” she said.

The poll results are considered accurate + or – 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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