Majority Continue to Support (77%) Abortion in Canada, But Behind Sweden (87%), Belgium (87%) and France (86%)

One in Four (24%) Want Some Limits on Abortion, While 12% Say It Should Not Be Permitted

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  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON — Canadian public opinion on abortion is largely favourable, a new Ipsos global survey has found. More than three in four Canadians (77%, down 2 points from 2016) say abortion should be permitted – higher than the global average of 71% (-3 pts). Just over half (53%) say abortion should be permitted whenever a woman decides she wants one, while one in four (24%) favour some limits, saying it should be permitted in certain circumstances, such as if a woman has been raped.

Canada is on par with Australia in terms of overall opinion that abortion should be permitted, and ten points behind top-placed Sweden (87%, -6 points). Those least likely to say abortion should be permitted are in Peru (49%, -4 points). In the United States, about two in three Americans (68%, -1 pt) say abortion should be permitted to some extent, though fewer than in Canada feel it should be whenever a woman decides she wants one (40%).

Conversely, about one in ten Canadians (12%) feel abortion should not be permitted, up 1 percentage point since last year, but still well below the global average of 17% (+1 pt). This group is split between those who think abortion should only be permitted when the life of the mother is in danger (7%), and those who are completely opposed to it under any circumstance (5%). A further one in ten Canadians (11%) aren’t sure.

To provide some context to how opinions have evolved in Canada, Ipsos polling in the year 2000 revealed that 21% of Canadians thought that abortion should not be permitted under any circumstance, except when the life of the mother is in danger, revealing that opinions in Canada have been shifting over the past two decades more towards a woman’s right to choose, even if opinions have head steady over the past few years alone.

Americans are nearly twice as likely as Canadians to say abortion should not be permitted: two in ten (22%) are opposed, with 14% saying it should only be allowed when the mother’s life is in danger, and nearly one in ten (8%) saying it shouldn’t be permitted at all.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between January 20 and February 3, 2017. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2002
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry. With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014.

The author(s)
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs