Saturday, October 30, 2004

Ottawa Citizen Editorial on Abortion

Canada's own moral majority
The Ottawa Citizen
Friday, October 29, 2004

With abortion generally available on demand in Canada since the Supreme Court declared abortion laws unconstitutional, it is surprising that so little attention has been paid to a new survey that shows a majority of Canadians want more legal controls on the procedure.

No doubt, some will dismiss the survey because it was commissioned by LifeCanada, an anti-abortion group. But as it was conducted by a reputable polling company, Environics Research Group, the results suggest policy-makers are out of touch with most Canadians. Indeed, the survey results contradict those who assume most Canadians support a woman's unfettered right to abortion on demand.

The poll shows 33 per cent of Canadians think the law should protect "human life" from the point of conception, while 24 per cent think such protection should be available after three months of pregnancy. In other words, 57 per cent of Canadians don't agree with abortions beyond the first trimester of pregnancy. More surprising, perhaps, is that more women than men -- 60 per cent to 53 per cent -- feel this way.

Equally startling, 73 per cent of Canadians support including "informed consent" provisions in abortion laws, requiring doctors to advise women on fetal development, abortion complications and alternatives before performing an abortion. As well, 55 per cent believe girls under the age of 18 should get parental consent to have an abortion. Finally, 72 per cent think tax dollars should not be used to fund abortions or should only be used in medical emergencies or in cases of rape and incest.

It's unlikely this poll will have much effect on abortion rules in Canada, but it's still a useful reminder that those who believe this issue was settled once and for all by the Supreme Court are probably mistaken.

School's Out: New housing good for Old Ottawa South. Please see City Editorial, Page F4.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004