Canadians Call for Legislation to Deal with Gender-Based Abortion

Canadians are questioning the country’s lack of legal restrictions on pregnancy termination, and a majority is calling for a regulation that would deal with the use of abortion as a means of gender selection, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 1,001 Canadian adults, 51 per cent of respondents believe there should be laws which outline when a woman can have an abortion in Canada. Conversely, 37 per cent of Canadians think there should be no laws on this matter and want women to have the unrestricted right to have an abortion at any time up to the moment of birth.

Among the most populated provinces, Alberta (59%) has the highest proportion of respondents who want to establish abortion laws, while two-in-five Quebecers (40%) would not make any changes. More than half of Conservative and Liberal voters in the 2011 federal election (57% and 52% respectively) call for regulations, while Green Party and New Democratic Party (NDP) voters (51% and 47% respectively) disagree with this notion.

Earlier this month, Rajendra Kale, editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Journal (CMAJ), suggested in an editorial that a fetus’s gender should not be revealed to expecting parents until after 30 weeks of pregnancy, in order to prevent female feticide.

Across the country, three-in-five Canadians (60%)—and two-thirds of women (66%)—believe there should be laws which outline whether a woman can have an abortion based solely on the gender of the fetus. Three-in-ten respondents (30%) think a woman should have the unrestricted right to have an abortion in any circumstance.

It is important to note that, while there is a noticeable dissimilarity between supporters of specific political parties on the overall question of abortion laws, a majority of people who voted for each one of the five major parties in 2011 believe that there should be a regulation to deal with gender-based abortion.

Review our August 2010 survey on abortion.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From January 19 to January 20, 2012, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,001 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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