Survey Results: Abortion Perspectives and Experiences in the Reformed Community
In February, ARPA Canada conducted a survey asking the Reformed community about their abortion perspectives and experiences. With abortion estimated to end 1 in 4 pregnancies in Canada, we did not want to assume that the Reformed church community is immune to the temptation to end an unwanted pregnancy. We also wanted to determine whether the majority of our community views abortion from a distance, as an abstract issue, or as a personal issue.
To our knowledge, this is the first time a comprehensive survey regarding abortion and attitudes toward it has been undertaken within the Reformed community. This survey was open to individuals 16 years of age and older. A total of 853 Reformed Christians responded, far exceeding our goal of at least 300 responses!
We are encouraged that the survey findings indicate a much lower abortion rate than in the broader Canadian public and, where the choice for abortion had been made, there was clear evidence of felt forgiveness and reconciliation in Jesus. The survey respondents also showed a high level of support for the mission of ARPA Canada’s We Need a Law campaign with its goal to “mobilize Canadians and persuade our political leaders to pass laws that protect children before birth.”
Here are more of the results:
- 19% of respondents had experienced an unexpected pregnancy.
- Fewer than 1% of respondents (or their partner) had ever had an abortion.
- Of the few respondents who had an abortion, all of them did so before the age of 25.
- 63% of the respondents indicated that their pastor has preached on abortion on more than one occasion and nearly 90% said their pastor prays regularly about abortion.
- Over 86% said their church prays regularly for cultural issues, for politicians, and for pro-life laws to be introduced and passed in Canada.
- 95% would support a law banning third-trimester abortions.
- 98% would support a law banning sex-selective abortions.
- About one-quarter of respondents know a friend or family member who had an abortion.
- Nearly 60% of the abortions that occurred among friends or family members occurred more than 10 years ago.
We acknowledge the limitations of this survey, as participants were self-selected and were generally ARPA supporters, familiar with our mission and goals. This means the results of the study are not necessarily generalizable to the entire Reformed community. Still, the results of the survey are helpful and encouraging for a number of reasons.
Out of over 800 responses, there were only 7 personal experiences with abortion. That is significantly lower than the approximately 200 we would expect in the broader Canadian context. It was also encouraging to read that most of the individuals who shared about their abortion had also experienced forgiveness and healing in Christ. Knowing that one in four respondents had a friend or acquaintance who had an abortion also informs our educational efforts, as we can prepare people for difficult conversations that may arise in their personal contexts. There is still a need to change hearts and minds through our witness.
The survey also affirmed that the incremental approach taken by We Need a Law in advancing pre-born human rights is understood and supported by survey respondents. Reformed Christians understand the importance of moving forward one step at a time, supporting legislative changes that will save as many lives as possible.
We are thankful for the opportunity to do this survey, for the support you showed through responding, and for the blessing of a community that recognizes the value of pre-born human life.