Interim Staff

According to a LifeCanada-sponsored Environics poll, more than two-thirds of Canadians want abortion restricted or prohibited, informed consent and the public defunding of abortion.

The poll also indicates that support for the pro-life position on several abortion-related issues, including informed consent and taxpayer-funding of abortion, is going up across the board.

Joanne Byfield, president of LifeCanada, revealed to the National Pro-Life Conference in Winnipeg that 68 per cent of respondents favoured some legal protection before birth, with fully one-third supporting legal protection for the unborn from the moment of conception. That is a five per cent increase from 2003, when 63 per cent said they favoured restrictions on abortion.

The poll also found 72 per cent of Canadians object to taxpayer-funding of abortion (except in cases where the mother’s life is endangered or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest). That’s up from 68 per cent last year.

According to Environics, 73 per cent of Canadians support informed consent laws. Last year, 69 per cent supported legislation requiring that women considering abortion be informed about the risks of abortion and alternatives to it.

Also, 55 per cent of Canadians supported mandatory parental consent when minors are seeking abortion. That is a 13 per cent increase in support for parental consent legislation over last year.

Byfield told The Interim that the questions are all policy-directed, to demonstrate to the public and elected officials that there are specific abortion-related issues that can be addressed.

Byfield said that she was not surprised by the results, because the country has been trending pro-life in recent years. She said it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny the humanity of the child in the womb when the media report stories about the unborn benefiting from surgery in utero or listening to the music in the womb, when the stories of post-abortive women are being told and when there is increased discussion about abortion (especially partial-birth abortion) south of the border, which inevitably seeps into the Canadian consciousness. She also said that the trend towards pro-life is the result of local pro-life groups educating young people about abortion.

This is the first year Environics has conducted the annual LifeCanada poll. Byfield said that Leger Marketing, which conducted the polls in 2002 and 2003, told the pro-life organization in May that it was not interested in working with it because, Leger alleged, LifeCanada violated an agreement to not use the polling data in radio ads without the company’s approval. Byfield said that LifeCanada has never run radio ads, but after that kerfuffle, Leger informed LifeCanada that “we aren’t doing controversial issues.” However, Leger does conduct polls on same-sex “marriage.”

Byfield said her organization turned to Environics because it was important to use a “recognized, respected and established polling company.” She reports that although the mainstream media, by and large, continue to ignore the polling results, individual columnists have referred to them, as have other pro-life groups. Byfield stressed it was important to have numbers that demonstrate the majority of Canadians oppose the status quo of unrestricted abortion-on-demand.