Canada’s revealing opinion polls on abortion

By We Need a Law

Editor’s note. This is excerpted from a post that appeared here. The Mission Statement for We Need a Law begins, “We mobilize Canadians and persuade our political leaders to pass laws that protect children before birth.”

Do Canadians support a law limiting abortion? Yes. 

In all but one of the opinion polls publicly available since 2010, a majority of Canadians support at least some law regulating abortion.

Are Canadians pro-choice? 

If you look at the polls that ask whether abortion is permissible (i.e., whether you always support a woman’s choice) the numbers are much closer, with an average of 48% supporting a choice at any point, 46% only supporting sometimes, and 5% unsure.

How can we interpret these results? With opinion polls it is always important to look at the methodology, what questions are being asked and who is being asked. For example, if you ask the average Canadian their opinions on abortion you must remember that (according to one poll) 77% of Canadians are unaware that Canada has no abortion law. Saying you support a women’s right to choose may mean something very different if you are assuming a woman can’t legally have a third trimester abortion.

The 2020 Dart poll is an excellent example of this. In that poll 71% believe a woman should be able to get an abortion for whatever reason, but at the same time 70% of Canadians think abortion should be illegal in the last trimester and 84% supported a law against sex selective abortion.

This illustrates the difference of being asked “Do you support women?” versus “Do you support the termination of a 24-week old fetus who is viable and can feel pain?” or “Do you support abortion targeting a pre-born child because of her sex?” It may feel good to affirm the first question, but uncomfortable when faced with what this means to the pre-born in the second questions.

Prominent pro-abortion activist Joyce Arthur acknowledges this saying, “Virtually everyone supports “freedom” and “privacy” so a large majority of people will agree that women should have both. But if specific questions are asked about exactly when fetal life should be protected, women’s so-called “complete freedom” to have abortions appears to take a sudden nosedive.” Abortion becomes far less palatable when you are faced with the reality of what it does. …