Why Poll Data Doesn’t Matter

by | January 28, 2012
filed under Can-Con, Feminism, Politics

This article was originally posted at Anti-Choice is Anti-Awesome. Cross-posted with permission. Peggy Cooke is a reproductive justice activist and former abortion clinic worker living in Toronto, ON. She likes feminism, grammar, and sharks.

So, I guess there’s been an Angus Reid poll that found that 51% of Canadians favour some restrictions on abortion – and 60% favour restricting sex-selective abortion. I have some thoughts.

First of all, who are these people who don’t think there should be any restrictions, but then do think that, oh yeah, if it’s for sex selection then we should really clamp down. What? I have so many questions for them. Like: how do we determine someone’s reason for aborting? How hard do you think it would be to get around such a restriction? What do you think it says about our society that sex selective abortion even exists? What other reasons are good enough to say no, you can’t have this?

But mostly I just think, who cares? I wouldn’t give a shit if 99% of the population thought abortion should be illegal, all the time, forever. Majority opinion =/= justice.

I don’t know what polls like this are supposed to prove. People’s right to have a say over their own bodies is not changeable with the whims of the populace, or at least it shouldn’t be. I’m sure there was a time when a lot of shitty things were 51% approved by the population of this or another country. You know the shit I’m talking about, don’t make me Godwin this.

I also wouldn’t really care that much if the poll said 99% of people were for no limits on abortion law/access, unless it actually made a practical difference in people’s lives. Look at PEI – even if everyone on the island agreed that abortion was a-ok, that doesn’t build a clinic, or the political will to make it happen. Reproductive rights are looking more and more like something to add to our list of things we will need to take back (as opposed to waiting for them to be handed to us).

I guess it doesn’t really matter what polls we do, I don’t really feel that they are reflective of folks’ lived experiences, which tend to get undervalued.


(photo via Wikimedia commons, not a picture of actual Angus Reid poll).

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