The Angus Reid Institute released Thursday the results of a poll of 1,805 Canadians last August, in the wake of the intensification of debates on abortion in the United States following the repeal of the judgment Roe v. Wade. This new sounding confirms in particular that Quebecers are much more favorable to abortion than citizens of other Canadian provinces.
“Quebecers are the most likely to identify as ‘completely pro-choice’ with a strong majority (59%) holding this view,” reveals the Angus Reid Institute article that presents the survey results. Thus, 5% of Quebecers say they are “completely pro-life”, and 37%, “somewhere in between”.
In Canada as a whole, 52% of the population say they are “completely pro-choice”, that is to say, according to Angus Reid’s criteria, that they believe that abortion should be legal at n any stage of pregnancy. 8% of Canadians are “completely pro-life”, and 37%, “somewhere in between”.
Alberta is the least “completely pro-choice” province, with 42% of respondents identifying with this option. 9% of Albertans say they are “completely pro-life,” and 48% “somewhere in between,” the highest rate among Canadian provinces. However, it is Saskatchewan and Manitoba that have the most pro-lifers, at 13%.
“There is a long history of good public services in Quebec,” says Kelly Bowden, director of policy and government relations at Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. Quebecers are more likely to have had positive experiences with abortion and socialization is very important in forming opinions. »
Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute and political analyst, points to the influence of Henry Morgentaler in explaining the results for Quebec. This doctor, who is behind the 1988 Supreme Court decision that involved the decriminalization of abortion in the country, has long practiced – illegal abortions, among others – in Montreal. “He must have had a major influence, because it was such a major decision,” said M.me Kurl.
“On the other hand, she says, conservative values remain very important in Alberta and Saskatchewan. People are attached to values that they consider as traditional, in particular on the life and the rights of the fetus”.
The influence of the United States
Mme Kurl says the Angus Reid Institute conducted its poll last August precisely because “more debates were emerging in Canada, following the repeal of Roe v. Wade” of the United States Supreme Court.
According to Mme Bowden, “what happened in the United States certainly accelerated some conversations elsewhere, especially in Canada.” But we should not believe, according to her, that since several American states currently restrict the right to abortion, Canada could also experience “a setback” on this issue. On the contrary, “we see more progress and openness when we assess the situation around the world,” she said.
Mme Kurl explains that with the recent intensification of debates in Canada and the United States, she felt that several recent polls and articles “lack nuance.” This is why she wanted to emphasize, in this latest survey, the different perceptions “that could be found between the strictly binary options that are ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’”.
Among other things, the poll found that of the 41% of Canadians who consider themselves “somewhere in between,” 36% believe abortion should be legal until the first heartbeat of the fetus can be heard, so up to about 15 weeks. 8% would go until fetal viability, that is to say until the fetus can survive outside the uterus, so about 24 weeks. 23% fall between these two options, and 33% remain uncertain.
A medical procedure “like the others”
Earlier this week, the Angus Reid Institute released further data from the same survey, namely that “two-thirds of people who report having had a surgical or procedural abortion say that ultimately it was the right choice for them and that they don’t regret it. »
Thus, 6% of respondents who had an abortion regret the procedure and would have preferred to opt for another option, while 65% of them claim to have made the right decision, without having any regrets. Among women who have carried an unwanted pregnancy to term, 10% regret it, and 54% say they made the right decision.
“There are still a lot of taboos around abortion, as well as an increase in misinformation online, in regards to health care in general,” says Ms.me Bowden. When women have an abortion, some arrive with prejudices and end up understanding that it is a medical procedure like any other. »
The latter is also delighted with the results of the survey, since according to her, they show that “Canadian women have the impression that they can make decisions for themselves, regardless of their opinion. »
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