B.C. most in favour of unrestricted abortions rights: poll
A lone anti-abortion protester spreads his message on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, April 26, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Published Monday, January 28, 2013 12:41PM PST
Last Updated Monday, January 28, 2013 2:39PM PST
British Columbians favour unlimited abortion rights more than residents of any other province, according to a new survey released 25 years after the Supreme Court of Canada barred all legal restrictions on the practice.
The online poll, conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, found 42 per cent of British Columbians are in favour of maintaining the status quo, which allows women to seek abortions at any time during their pregnancies.
That’s seven per cent higher than the national average, and 12 per cent more than Alberta. Respondents from Atlantic Canada showed the least support for the current system at just 28 per cent.
Nationally, 59 per cent of those polled said they favour some form of restrictions, ranging from limiting abortions to the first trimester to forbidding it under any circumstances.
Nine per cent said a woman should be able to have an abortion at any time, but only if her life is in danger, if she was raped or if the fetus has a serious defect.
But despite their personal views, the majority of respondents still said there is “no point” in reopening a debate about abortion in Canada.
Just 30 per cent said it was due time to reopen the abortion discussion.
A quarter century ago Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion restrictions violated a woman’s Charter rights.
The date is expected to be celebrated by abortion rights activists across Canada, and rued by opponents like the Campaign Life Coalition, which dismissed the anniversary as a “day of shame for Canada.”
“It’s a disgrace that for the last 25 years, this country’s government has neglected to put an end to the greatest human rights violation of our time,” president Jim Hughes said in a statement.
The Angus Reid survey also asked respondents how they feel about the health care system funding abortions. Forty-three per cent agreed that the government should fund abortions whenever they are requested, compared to 42 per cent who said they should only be paid for in the event of medical emergencies.
Seven per cent said the system should never fund an abortion, and eight per cent were unsure.
The poll was conducted from Jan. 11 to 12 among 1,009 randomly selected adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.