What do Canadians think today?

For the sixth year in a row, a strong majority of Canadians  indicated in October 2007 that they do not support the current lack of legal  protection for the unborn in Canada,  in a national survey on abortion commissioned by LifeCanada. Women and young  adults showed the highest levels of support for legal protection for the  unborn, at 67% for both demographic groups. Overall, 62% of Canadians support  some form of legal protection for the unborn. Only 33% of Canadians are  satisfied with the current lack of any legal protection before birth.

  • Two-thirds of Canadian women support legal  protection for unborn children at some point before birth.
  • More than  one-third (34%) of women want to see protection from the point of conception  onwards.
  • An  additional 33% would support protection for the unborn later in pregnancy, 21%  after three months of pregnancy and 12% after six months.
  • A smaller  majority of men (57%) support legal protection, with 26% wanting protection for  the unborn throughout pregnancy.
  • Young people between the ages of 18-29 showed  the highest level of support across all age groups, with 67% indicating there  should be legal protection for unborn children at some point before birth.
  • Support  for protection from conception onward rose to 29% among this age group since  they were last polled, from 26% in 2006.
  • Canadians aged 60 or older showed the lowest  support for fetal protection laws, with 38% indicating they were satisfied with  the current lack of any protection for unborn children.

Across Canada,  support for fetal protection at some point before birth was highest in the  prairie region (65%), Quebec (64%) and the Atlantic    provinces (63%). Residents of BC showed the lowest  support at 58%, with Ontario a  close second at 60%.

Residents of the Prairies and Atlantic Canada showed the  highest support for protection from the point of conception onward, with 36% of  Prairie respondents and 34% of people from the Maritimes indicating the unborn  should be protected throughout pregnancy.       B.C., Quebec and Ontario  showed the lowest support from protection for the unborn from the point of  conception onward, at 24%, 30% and 29%, respectively.

A majority of Canadians indicated support for abortion  legislation on a wide spectrum of issues, including protection for the unborn  at some point before birth, informed consent laws and parental consent for  girls under 18, and fetal protection in the case of violent crime against the  mother.

Almost three-quarters of Canadians (72%) indicated they  would support a fetal protection law making it a separate crime to kill or  injure an unborn child during the course of attacking the mother. That number  rose to 75% among women. Sixty-eight percent of men supported the legislation.
The poll results were released as the family of a murdered  pregnant woman in Toronto called  for legislation to recognize the death of the woman’s unborn baby as a separate  crime. Aysun Sesen was killed October 2 by repeated stab wounds to her abdomen.  Her seven-month unborn baby girl died survived the initial assault but died  before doctors could perform an emergency caesarian.

A strong majority of respondents would support informed  consent laws for women seeking abortions. Such laws would require physicians  and abortion clinics to give women certain information, such as the  developmental stage of their unborn child including an ultrasound, the health  risks and possible long-term side effects of abortion, and alternatives to  abortion.

  • Over two-thirds (67%) of respondents would  support such laws.
  • Only  29% opposed informed consent laws.
  • Support for informed consent was highest in the  Maritimes (72%) and Quebec (72%).
  • Slightly more women (68%) were in favor of  informed consent than men (66%).
  • Young people age 18-29 showed the highest  support for informed consent across age groups, at 70 percent.

Again, a majority of Canadians would support legislation  requiring parental consent before abortion for girls under the age of 18.  Fifty-four percent indicated they would like to see such laws, while 43% were  opposed.

  • Canadians continue to show support for the withdrawal of tax  funding for elective abortions. Currently in Canada,  most abortions are covered at tax-payers’ expense, regardless of whether or not  the abortion is deemed medically necessary.
  • When asked under what circumstances abortion  should be funded by tax-payers, a strong majority (64%) said abortions should  be paid for privately or only funded by tax dollars in the case a medical  emergency, such as a threat to the mother’s life, or in the case of rape or  incest. Of those, 17% said abortion should always be a private expense.
  • Only 32%  supported the current situation where abortion is paid for using the tax-funded  health care system.

The Environics Focus Canada  poll questioned 2,047 Canadians from Sept. 17 to Oct. 14. The survey has a  margin of error of plus or minus two per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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