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Majority of Canadians remain pro-choice regardless of circumstances

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A new Angus-Reid poll shows the majority of Canadians (52%) remain completely pro-choice and believe abortion is acceptable at any time in a pregnancy and for any reason.

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Only 8% are totally pro-life, believing  abortion is never acceptable, except where the health of the mother is in danger.

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Another 41% consider themselves somewhere in between.

One in five Canadian pregnancies ends in abortion. One is six women has had an abortion.

Very few regret their decision.

Among women who have had an abortion (Part One of the poll), 58% are pro-choice, 6% are pro-life and 36% are somewhere in the middle, with no hard-and-fast rule — although 61% of the “in between” group are pro-choice based on timing.

(Of that 36%, a third are okay with abortion until 15 weeks of pregnancy, a quarter say abortion is acceptable until 23 or 24 weeks, and another third say they just don’t know at what point in a pregnancy abortion is or is not acceptable.)

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In Part One of their poll, Angus Reid poll canvassed women about abortion.

About two in five women (41%) say someone close to them has had an abortion. One is six women has had an abortion (16%), and the same number of women (15%) carried an unwanted pregnancy to term.

Among the women who had an abortion, an overwhelming majority (65%) said they had made the right decision. Another 28% likewise stand by their decision but have some regrets.

Somewhat fewer (54%) who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term say they made the right decision, with 25% also standing by their decision but having some regrets.

There have been 3.2. million Canadian abortions over the last 25 years, with a greater number performed on women who vote Conservative.

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Women across the political spectrum have had an abortion or are close to another woman who did so, with 18% of Conservative voters, 14% of Liberal voters and 16% of NDP voters saying they have had an abortion themselves.

The language of the poll discusses “unwanted or unplanned” pregnancies; it is not specified whether planned pregnancies ended for medical reasons (non-viable fetus; health of mother) are included in these figures.

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The second part of the poll centres on gender, age, experience and faith, and how those factors affect views on abortion.

Young women (aged 18-34) are most likely to be completely pro-choice (65%) — but also most likely to be completely pro-life (14%).

Among religious Canadians, 40% voice pro-life sentiments, 21% are pro-choice and 39% are somewhere in between.

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The majority of Canadians prioritize the rights of the mother over the rights of the fetus.

As the National Post reports, Canada is unique among G20 nations for having no laws whatsoever governing abortion.

In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down criminal provisions that previously restricted abortions only to extreme cases where the life of the mother was at risk.

Since then, only former prime minister Brian Mulroney has attempted a bill to impose strict guidelines on elective abortions, and it was defeated by the Senate.

There have been markedly fewer abortions in Canada every year since 2008.

The Angus Reid survey was done online from Aug. 29-30, 2022  with 1,805 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. The margin of error can be considered +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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