AFSCME Labor Union Criticized for Sponsoring Pro-Abortion March
by Joe Kral
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
August 12, 2003
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A national labor union is drawing criticism for co-sponsoring a pro-abortion march that abortion advocacy groups have planned for April 2004.
Next year, the major pro-abortion organizations are planning a march in Washington in order to promote abortion and raise grassroots awareness about the upcoming presidential election. This by itself may not seem so surprising since the march is sponsored by the likes of NOW, NARAL, the Feminist Majority, and Planned Parenthood.
What makes some heads turn is one of the sponsors listed for this event is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
Officials from the group’s Washington headquarters appeared along with abortion advocacy organizations at a June press conference announcing the pro-abortion march.
Pro-life groups wonder why AFSCME, a division of AFL-CIO, would be sponsoring the march and what abortion has to do with labor issues. Most unions have openly advocated a neutral position on the question of abortion.
AFSCME’s website speaks of women’s rights in the workplace, and the group has worked before with pro-abortion groups to secure contraception coverage in employee health insurance plans.
However, abortion is never directly or indirectly mentioned.
When LifeNews.com contacted AFSCME regarding its sponsorship of the abortion march, officials have no comment. Instead they referred all comments regarding the march to pro-abortion organizations.
Many of the local organizations affiliated with AFSCME did not return any repeated calls or e-mails. At least 15 local AFSCME councils and 10 presidents of local councils were contacted by LifeNews.com for comments.
Though the group appeared at the press conference, its affiliation with the abortion march is apparently being hidden.
No mention is made of AFSCME’s sponsorship either on the AFSCME web site nor the official abortion march web site created by the pro-abortion groups.
Following the launch of LifeNews.com’s investigation, documents at the Feminist Majority Foundation web site discussing AFSCME’s participation in the June press conference were removed. The only document remaining discussing their participation is a blog web page run by summer interns at the pro-abortion group.
It would seem that by so openly advocating a pro-abortion march the union has entrenched itself in a pro-abortion position.
When asked if this would alienate pro-life Democrats, Kristen Day, Executive Director Democrats for Life, told LifeNews.com, "AFSCME and the National Democratic Party supporting the pro-abortion march and pro-abortion forces ignores the silent pro-life majority who are organizing and will be more vocal in the future."
It seems more of a ploy by the traditional pro-abortion organizations to entrench all the usual bases of the Democratic Party to hold that the "right to an abortion" is the banner in which the party will gather around. Furthermore, it suggests to pro-life leaders that leadership within these unions may speak of neutrality, but honestly do not mean it.
"If labor was truly neutral on the issue, they would either support Democrats for Life at the same level they are supporting the pro-abortion groups, or not support either side of the issue," stated Day.
Pro-life Democratic leadership has expressed its concern with the marriage of a pro-abortion position in the Democratic ranks. In a day and age when much of the Democratic leadership accuses Republicans that they are not tolerant of differing views of abortion within their ranks it would seem that they are not heeding their own words.
Day further told LifeNews.com, "The DNC is entrenched in pro-abortion politics and has consistently refused to accept that truly being the big tent party by supporting pro-life Democrats will help with future gains."
While it has been suggested that the pro-abortion position is rampant among the traditional Democratic base’s leadership, the message they are sending with this march is not necessarily for the right to have an abortion, but rather to try to target President George W. Bush.
Carol Tobias, Director of National Right to Life PAC, said march organizers are trying to tell President Bush that they will try to turn out pro-abortion voters and they are not opposed to getting the pro-abortion union leadership behind them.
This isn’t the first time AFSCME has lent its name to pro-abortion efforts.
AFSCME is mentioned a one of the organizations that make up the leadership council of the Pro-Choice Educational Project. Other groups mentioned include the American Association of University Women, the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, the NEA, and the YWCA.
ACTION: Let AFSCME know what you think about it supporting a pro-abortion march. Contact AFSCME at 1625 L Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036-5687. (p) 202-429-1000, (f) 202-429-1293, firstname.lastname@example.org