The large majority of Canadians are against abortion on demand, a recent Gallup Poll has found.

The poll, released August 2, showed that almost seven out of every ten Canadians (66 per cent with three per cent undecided) think that abortion should be illegal under certain circumstances.

The poll was based on interviews with 1,001 Canadian adults between June 22 and July 3.

31 per cent said it should be legal in all circumstances, a figure which is unchanged since October of last year.

Pro-life leaders are taking some satisfaction with the results which they say indicate a trend.

“We are encouraged,” said Jim Hughes about the facts of prenatal life and the harm to mothers caused by abortion they become less willing to support abortion on demand.”

The poll found the circumstances which the majority of Canadians would accept for abortion are rape or incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger.

81 per cent of respondents to the poll said abortion should be allowed if a woman’s health is in danger and 70 per cent agree abortions because of rape or incest should be allowed.

64 per cent agree with aborting a baby with a serious defect.  But the numbers for acceptable circumstances drop off and only a minority of Canadians are willing to tolerate abortion for any other reasons.

Only 12 per cent would allow abortions any tine before the first five months of pregnancy and just 19 per cent agree to allowing abortions for economic reasons.

33 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men questioned would allow abortion on demand.

Regionally, the Atlantic Provinces are by far the most pro-life.  16 per cent of Atlantic residents would allow abortion in any circumstances and the same number would prohibit it.  British Columbia had the most respondents in favour of abortion on demand with 38 per cent saying it should be allowed always.

A spokesman for Gallup Canada said the poll was “”independent” which means it was not sponsored by an individual or group.  He said the polling firm is on contract with various newspapers to conduct the surveys.

The poll found the higher the education, the greater the tolerance for abortion on demand.  35 per cent of university-educated respondents would allow abortion always compared with 25 per cent of those with a high school education.

The poll comes on the heels of an informal Toronto Star telephone survey which found an overwhelming number of respondents don’t think public money should go to funding abortions.

Of the respondents, 2,655 or 75 per cent said they did not think public money should go to providing abortions.  Only 900 said OHIP, the government health insurance, should pay the cost.  The Star poll also had similar results over whether OHIP should cover in-vitro fertilization.  71 per cent said no.

The Toronto Star poll was a result of a column by Frank Jones which suggested the Ontario government should not pay for fertility programs for parents trying to have children.

Hughes said the Star poll “also confirms what we’ve been seeing.  Canadians do not want their tax dollars to kill unborn babies.”