Editor’s note. This analysis was provided by LifeCanada.

Seventy-two percent of Canadians surveyed in a September National Omnibus poll support legal protection for unborn babies. Most (62%) want protection from conception, or two months, or three months’ gestation on. Another 10% favor protection from 6 months on. Currently in Canada there are no legal restrictions on abortion at any stage of pregnancy.

The telephone poll, conducted by Environics Research for LifeCanada, an educational pro-life group, asked 2000 Canadians for their opinions on abortion. The margin of error is +/- 2.2%.

Participants were told that the fetal heart begins beating about three weeks after conception, brain waves can be detected within two months of conception and all organs are in place by two months. When asked when human life should be protected, 28% said from conception, 17% said after two months and another 17% said after three months. Only 20% supported the current policy in Canada of no protection for human life until birth.

Significantly, women (74%) are more likely than men (67%) to support protection before birth. 81% of women said abortion should generally be illegal in the third trimester.

Canadians were also asked about sex selection abortions which target female babies. In several countries, including India and China, girls are routinely aborted leading to skewed demographics in which adult males far outnumber females. An astonishing 92% of Canadians thought sex selection abortions should be illegal in Canada.

Finally Canadians polled said they did not support tax-funded abortions except in emergency situations when the mother’s life was threatened or in cases of rape and incest. Taxpayers currently pay for almost all the abortions performed in Canada, over 100,000 a year. Yet only 30% of those polled support paying for all abortions. Thirteen percent said abortions should always be paid for by the patient and an addition 54% said abortions should only be tax-funded in emergency situations.

“There is clearly a considerable gulf between government policies on abortion and Canadians’ opinions,” said LifeCanada President Monica Roddis. “Canadians strongly oppose abortion being legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy and they don’t want to pay for them except in exceptional circumstances.”

“Yet our governments refuse to deal with this issue,” she said. “They won’t reopen the debate as they like to say. Is that because the more Canadians consider this issue, the more likely they are to disagree with the status quo?”

“We will continue to educate Canadians on this issue and we hope that the polls add to a healthy and productive debate across this country.”