Majority of Canadians, only half of Americans support right to an abortion: poll

The majority of Canadians, 73 per cent, believe women have the right to an abortion no matter the circumstances while only half of Americans, 52 per cent, believe in that right, according to a new poll.

The Maru Public Opinion survey found four in 10 Americans believe it should only be legal in certain circumstances, including if the mother’s life is at risk or the pregnancy is due to rape or incest.

Despite this belief, 70 per cent of people from the U.S. agree that outlawing abortions will cause women to die because they will seek one outside the medical system. In Canada, 82 per cent of respondents believed this.

The vast majority of Canadian respondents, 77 per cent, were open to Americans coming to Canada to get an abortion if they pay for the procedure.

Among American respondents, over half, 54 per cent, believe abortions weren’t necessary if proper birth control measures were practised. For Canadians, 39 per cent of those surveyed believed this.

Seventy-eight per cent of those surveyed in Canada believe the government should pass legislation that protects the right to an abortion, as over half of respondents said they feared abortion rights were at risk because of what is happening in the U.S.

The right to an abortion doesn’t exist in Canada in the same way it is enshrined in Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973 that has served as a legal scaffold for reproductive rights champions around the world for nearly half a century.

A draft of a Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked at the beginning of May. An attempt from the Democrats to pass legislation toward enshrining abortion access as federal law failed.

Half of Americans, 53 per cent, would find it unacceptable if Roe v. Wade was overturned while 29 per cent would find it acceptable.

Abortion is decriminalized in Canada because of a 1988 Supreme Court decision in this country, but no bill has ever been passed to enshrine access into law and it’s also not considered a constitutionally protected right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The federal government recently announced millions of dollars in funding to improve access to safe abortions, reiterating that Canada’s abortion laws are strong and unchanging.

One in five Canadians said they would support and vote for any legislator who openly wants to make abortion illegal while 35 per cent of Americans would do the same. Moreover, 23 per cent of Canadians and 39 per cent of Americans believe the government and the courts must make it harder to get an abortion.

The poll was conducted on May 5-8 surveying 1,518 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panellists and 1,515 American adults who are Maru Springboard America online panellists. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

With files from The Canadian Press

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