Canadian abortion poll disregards abortion victims, glosses over regret

Canadian abortion poll disregards abortion victims, glosses over regret (Julia Volk/Pexels)

A poll of Canadian's views on abortion failed to consider the primary victim of abortion - unborn children – while downplaying the regret many of the surveyed women felt about having had the procedure. 

The study from Canadian non-profit research group Angus Reid Institute (ARI) also failed to question a common factor in many abortions - pressure from another person.

Aside from incomplete analysis of the decision to abort, this was also a missed opportunity to increase awareness about pressure to abort from a partner, family member, friend, or abortion facility despite numerous studies having found high rates of coercion is a common factor in a woman’s abortion decision.

ARI sought volunteers to answer the abortion poll through late last summer its Angus Reid Forum, an online community of adults who give their opinions on a variety of topics. 18,205 women answered the survey questions (the questionnaire is available HERE) about surgical abortion; the poll did not include abortion by pills. The results were released later in the year.

In stating that women “who have faced an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy” are the ones who are “most personally and deeply affected” by abortion, ARI is showing bias, according to the president of Canadian pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition (CLC).

“This is simply false,” Jeff Gunnarson said of the assertion. “Preborn children targeted for abortion are certainly the ‘most personally and deeply affected’ by abortion. Their very lives are at stake.” 

He also questioned the absence of data on chemical abortions given their growing prevalence.

“This poll, by entirely ignoring the reality of the genocide taking place against pre-born human children, casts into suspicion its formulation of questions and subsequent answers from respondents,” Gunnarson said. “The omission of any examination of chemical abortions is also a major deficiency.”

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The poll found that while 65% of women had no regrets about their abortion, 28% thought it was the right decision, but they had regrets, and 6% thought it was the wrong decision and that a different choice would have been better.

CLC Director of Education and Advocacy Josie Luetke noted that a survey is not guaranteed to adequately capture a woman’s regret.

“In this poll, 34 percent of mothers who chose to kill their children had ‘regrets,’ with some mothers in that group stating that it was the ‘wrong decision’ and that a ‘different choice would have been better,’” she said.

“I know a post-abortive woman in Hamilton who insisted she didn’t regret her abortion from decades ago,” Luetke said. “When I asked her why not, she tearfully confessed that she couldn’t handle everything that would come with answering differently.” 

“It doesn’t surprise me, then, that other post-abortive women similarly won’t admit to regrets to a public pollster, not when their mental health might depend upon remaining in denial and not when they realize their responses could impact the political discourse,” Luetke continued. “Thankfully, groups like Silent No More Awareness and Rachel’s Vineyard exist to help post-abortive men and women heal from their spiritual and emotional wounds caused by abortion.”

Tweet This: A study on abortion decisions from Canadian research group Angus Reid Institute failed to question the factor in many abortions - coercion.

As reported by The Federalist, a 2018 analysis of research by the British Journal of Psychiatry found that post-abortive women were 81 percent more likely to suffer mental health issues.

PTSD is a factor for some women after abortion as Human Life International points out, referencing studies showing a significant percentage of women show signs of PTSD post abortion or meet all the criteria to be diagnosed with the condition. 

The ARI study failed to inquire about possible PTSD, suicide risk, or other potential health risks for post-abortive women such as breast cancer, miscarriage, or infertility.

As in the U.S., abortion enthusiasts criticize abortion access in Canada and give the impression that it's difficult to find an abortionist. Yet this poll found just 16 per cent of these women claimed it was difficult or impossible to access. 

Heartbeat International Vice President of Ministry Services Tracie Shellhouse noted the potential for harm to women that comes from abortion and the study’s failure to take possible coercion into account. 

"It is important to assess and be aware of the emotional and psychological impact of abortion, as it is a traumatic experience for many women,” Shellhouse said. “PTSD caused by abortion has a lasting effect on women's mental health, and that effect is often compounded by the fact that women feel pressured, coerced, or forced by the father of the baby, family, or friends.” 

“A survey ignoring this aspect of pregnancy termination isn't comprehensive,” she said.

Heartbeat is the largest global network of pregnancy help organizations. Shellhouse also pointed out the crucial nature of pregnancy centers for women in an unplanned pregnancy in light of the ARI study.

“Research, awareness, and education are key in messaging to convey to women their rights to choose life for their children,” she said, “and to increase awareness of the help, resources, and support available to them across our nation through pregnancy help organizations."

Editor’s note: Heartbeat International manages pregnancy Help News. Help for unplanned pregnancy is available 24/7 at Option Line, via call or text at 1-800-712-4357, and abortion recovery resources can be accessed HERE.

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