PEI

P.E.I. abortion attitudes moving towards support

Two polls on the attitude of Prince Edward Islanders towards access to abortion, one in 2008 and one released Thursday, suggest support for abortion services is growing.

P.E.I. is the only province that does not provide abortion services

Province House has been the scene of a number of abortion rallies over the last three years. (CBC)

Two polls on the attitude of Prince Edward Islanders towards access to abortion, one in 2008 and one released Thursday, suggest support for abortion services is growing.

The Corporate Research Associates poll released Thursday, based on interviews Nov. 5-30, found 53 per cent of Islanders felt abortions should be available to women in the first three months of pregnancy. In Aug. 2008 CRA asked the same question and found just 36 per cent support.

Both polls asked the same question and both surveyed 300 Islanders, giving a margin of error of error 5.4 percentage points. They are considered accurate 19 times out of 20.

P.E.I. is the only province in Canada that does not provide abortion services. The province will pay for an abortion, but Islanders must travel to the mainland to have it performed.

Abortion has been a topic of discussion on the Island for the past three years, since the P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization was founded to lobby for the service to be provided locally.

Premier Robert Ghiz has said he supports abortion rights, but believes the current policy is a balanced approach that respects everyone's opinion.

The current poll was conducted across Atlantic Canada, and the P.E.I. results are similar to those in the rest of the region. The 2008 poll found support for abortion was lower than in the rest of the region.

CRA asked which one of the following three options best represents your own personal view on abortion?
20142008
Abortions should be available to women who want them during the first three months of pregnancy53%36%
Abortions should be available in only limited circumstances such as incest and rape27%35%
Abortions should not be available under any circumstances13%18%
Depends1%1%
Only if mother's health is in danger1%1%
Don't know/No answer4%7%

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