Two Canadian, and one British,
public opinion polls on abortion
1998 British Poll:
The Harris Research Centre conducted a public opinion poll involving
1,762 people aged 16 and above from 1998-MAR-27 to 31. The question asked was: "Should
a pregnant woman be able to decide for herself whether to have an abortion in
the first three months of pregnancy?" 1 Overall
||77% yes (ranging from a high of 84% in the North East of England to
a low of 70% in Scotland)
More women then men supported the pro-choice stance (81% to 72%)
2002 Canadian poll:
Environics Research Group conducted this poll for the National Post and
Global TV network.
There is a very high level of support for freedom of choice for women in
Canada. It has been rising steadily since the mid-1980s when only about half of
Canadian adults supported legal and widely available abortions. By the year
2000, an Environics poll had indicated that support had risen to 66%. A
Inc. poll conducted from 2002-NOV-16 to 19, shows that 78% of adults are in
favor of abortion access. This value varied from a high of 82% in Quebec to a
low of 68% in the Maritime provinces on Canada's East coast. The margin of error
is ~+mn~4 percentage points.
Natalie Hudson, spokesperson for the Right to Life Association of Toronto
said that the data is "very disappointing...It means we've got to get out
Mary Ellen Douglas, spokesperson for the Campaign Life Coalition
criticized the survey methodology. It asked a number of other questions related
to freedom of choice. She said: "Freedom for women is a flag, whether your
asking what color they should be able to dye their hair or what doctor they
should be able to go to. Women will respond to that no matter what the question
is, as yes. The reality is if you asked the question 'Should women have complete
freedom on whether to kill their two-year-old?' then you introduce something
else...it's the same question; it's her baby at a different age." 2
2006 Canadian poll:
Environics Research Group conducted this poll for LifeCanada, a
This poll is extremely useful for two main reasons:
||The pollsters asked questions that are often ignored by most polls.
||They have asked the same questions yearly since 2002. Thus trends can be
They attempted to determine when Canadians believe that
human life becomes a human person We feel that this
is the key question to be raised in polls on abortion access. However, it is
rarely included. The question asked was:
"In your opinion, at what point in human development should the law
protect human life?"
|Time protection should start
|Sometime during pregnancy
|Don't know/Didn't answer
This is a politician's nightmare. Canadian adults are split into three almost
equally sized camps, and the percentage of people who don't know is decreasing.
There has been a notable shift over time from preferring protection from
conception on (a drop from 37& to 31%) , to preferring protection starting later
in pregnancy (an increase from 19% to 33%).
For those who believe that protection of human life should begin during
pregnancy, two choices were offered: at the start of the second and third
trimesters. Subjects specified the former about twice as often as the latter:
|Time protection should start
|Beginning of second trimester
|Beginning of third trimester
N = 2,012. margin of error = ~+mn~2.2 percentage
points. Poll taken 2006-SEP-19 to 2006-OCT-12.
Environics also asked whether the subjects favored "informed consent" laws in
which the physician is required to provide information to the pregnant woman
about the stages of fetal development, an assessment of abortion complications,
alternatives to abortion, etc. Canadians generally favored such laws. There has
been no significant trend over times:
Finally, they asked whether pregnant women under the age of 18 should be
required to have the consent of their parents before obtaining an abortion.
Results indicate another politician's nightmare:
Opinion appears to be unusually stable over time.
A related menu on this website:
- Data from the British poll is at:
"78% favour abortion rights: Poll shows support touching its all-time
high," National Post, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2002-NOV-27, Page A1 and A8.
"Canadians' attitudes towards abortion issues," Environics Research Group,
http://www.lifesite.net/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from:
Copyright © 1998 to 2006 by
Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2006-NOV-15
Author: B.A. Robinson