The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) are among a handful of Unions that have donated to Planned Parenthood in the United States. For example, in 2012, the New York City chapter of AFT gave $125,000 to the abortion company. Then, in the wake of the organization’s scandal regarding selling aborted babies’ body parts, the New York City branch of AFT said they still support Planned Parenthood and urged “all members to support Planned Parenthood as members and contributors.”
The Washington Free Beacon reports that over the last five years Planned Parenthood has also received money from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, United Autoworkers Union, Service Employees International Union, and the United Food and Commercial Union.
The vice president at the National Right to Work Foundation, Patrick Semmens, said that many union members do not hold the views of union leadership when it comes to abortion. However, he said there is little members can do to avoid compromising their own beliefs since the states do not give them the option to cancel their membership.
Semmens explained, “Whether it is sending dues money to Planned Parenthood, the Clinton Foundation, ACORN or any other organization that has nothing to do with representing rank-and-file workers, employees will have no way to hold union bosses accountable for how their money is spent as long as union officials are empowered by law to make payment to the union mandatory.”
James Sherk, the senior policy analyst in labor economics at The Heritage Foundation said, “Most union members have no idea that their union donates their dues to the largest abortion provider in America.” He added, “Federal law does not require unions to get their members’ authorization before spending their dues on controversial causes. Union leaders have wide discretion to spend their members’ money as they like.”
Interestingly, Planned Parenthood has returned the favor and donated money to some of the Unions that donate to them. Here’s more on those donations:
Planned Parenthood, which is in the midst of a scandal after a pro-life group released videos detailing potentially illegal organ harvesting techniques and sales, has contributed more than $350,000 to three labor unions. The largest donation went to Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the nation’s top political spenders, with nearly all of its money going to Democrats. SEIU received more than $285,000 from the group in 2011. The contribution was described as “charitable” in nature, according to federal labor filings.
Two $8,500 donations by Planned Parenthood to the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, were also described as charitable.
Most of the transactions between Planned Parenthood and unions involved political activities. Labor giant AFL-CIO cashed a check for $50,000 from the organization for an “issue advocacy group,” and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees contributed $400,000 of the $600,000 in total donations that Planned Parenthood’s political operations have received since 2011.
These transactions came from some of the most influential and largest unions in the country, including AFL-CIO, United Autoworkers Union, National Education Association, SEIU, AFT, United Food and Commercial Union, and several local affiliates. Only one of the labor unions responded to requests for comment about the nature of their relationships with the Planned Parenthood and whether they would continue in the wake of scandal. Some members are now suing to overturn coercive unionism in order to avoid violating their religious beliefs.
As LifeNews previously reported, in Pennsylvania, a public school teacher is suing the state’s education association for preventing her from giving her mandated union dues to a pro-life organization. The teacher, Linda Misja, said the following about her lawsuit against the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA): “Plain and simple, it is my money that I worked hard for. I need my money to go to a charity in which I believe—one of my own choosing—not one a group tells me it has to go to. That, to me, is not freedom.”
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In 2012, the PSEA was given the right to charge non-union members with “fair-share fees” since they benefit from contract negotiations. However, under state law, Linda isn’t required to pay those funds directly to the PSEA; instead, she has to pay the equivalent of that money to a charity both parties can agree on. The Pittsburgh Tribune Reports that Misja has been trying to find a middle ground on non-religious charities she can donate to but has been unsuccessful thus far.
Misja’s attorney, David Osborne from the Fairness Center, said, “Pennsylvania law allows Linda, a bona fide religious objector to unionism, to donate the equivalent of her union’s ‘fair share’ fee to a non-religious charity agreed upon by her and the union. But the union has held Linda’s money in lieu of union fees in escrow for more than three years rather than allow it to reach her chosen charity—a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech.”