January 12, 2009 – An Angus Reid poll has found that a vast majority of Canadians do not know that under the country’s current legal situation the killing of an unborn child is permitted at any time from conception up to the moment of birth.
The poll results have been made public on the heels of a late-December declaration by Dimitri Soudas, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, that the Conservative government has no intention of reopening the abortion debate in Canada.
The Angus Reid poll found that 92 percent of the respondents did not know abortion was available to a woman throughout the full nine months of gestation.
Significantly, a June 2008 poll by Angus Reid Strategies found that 46 percent of Canadians approve of the Canadian legal status quo, even if—as the more recent poll shows—they do not actually understand what the status quo is.
The new poll also found that respondents wanted information to be readily available to women contemplating abortion. Fully 95 percent said all information about all options should be made available to women, and 95 and 96 percent (respectively) said that information about the physical and psychological effects of abortion should be made available.
“Canadian women have a right to know,” said Yvonne Douma, Executive Director of Signal Hill, a human rights organization whose mandate is to provide accurate information to the public on these and other life issues (http://www.thesignalhill.com).
The poll also found that an overwhelming number of respondents did not support a woman’s right to abort a fetus because of its gender, a practice that is legal in Canada. Only six percent supported a woman’s right to choose abortion when the fetus is an undesired gender, usually female.
“Society recognizes that choice is not an absolute,” said Douma. “Some choices cannot be supported as is evident with gender selection abortions. But informed consent is vital to making good choices, and we do not see women getting all the information they need when making these life-changing decisions.”
– Press release from The Signal Hill