The nation’s largest teachers’ union went on record Saturday as supporting the “fundamental right to abortion” and pledging to fight the Trump administration on the issue.
The delegates at the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly passed a business item after much debate stating the for the next year, the NEA “through existing media channels” will defend “a person's right to control their own body.” Delegates were meeting in Houston.
“NEA vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade,” the business item says.
Further, the business item says, “The most misogynistic forces, under Trump, want to abolish the gains of the women's rights movement.”
It is the first time the NEA has gone on record as explicitly supporting abortion, according to NEA watchdog Mike Antonucci, who writes at EIAOnline.com.
The NEA passed a resolution in 1985 stating the organization “believes in family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom,” although it didn’t include the word “abortion.”
“This [1985 resolution] was widely understood by both sides of the debate as being a pro-abortion stance,” Antonucci wrote. “But for the last 34 years, the union has denied it takes any position on abortion. The word has never appeared in the union’s resolutions.”
The NEA has been hesitant to take an official stance on abortion or Roe because there are “a significant number of teachers” who “refuse to join NEA because they believe the organization supports abortion,” Antonucci wrote.
“For many years, some NEA delegates have attempted to get the union to take a neutral stance on abortion, but have always failed,” he added.
Business items direct the NEA to take action for one year. The abortion-themed business item doesn’t supplant the union’s resolution, but “at least for a year it expresses the will of NEA’s largest policy-making body,” he said.
It “strikes a blow for clarity over concealment,” he said.
Abortion wasn’t the only hot-button issue addressed in the business item (No. 56), which also said the NEA “will honor the leadership of women, non-binary, and trans people, and other survivors who have come forward to publicly name their rapists and attackers in the growing, international, #MeToo movement.”
The National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis said the NEA, as a teachers’ union, “ostensibly has no obvious reason to care about abortion policy or advocacy.”
“If the National Rifle Association were to suddenly issue a statement declaring its belief that life begins at conception, and every human being has the right to life, it would be a cause for confusion and surely for immense criticism from the group’s opponents,” she wrote. “But on the Left, such ‘allyship’ among progressive interests is increasingly required as a measure of devotion to the greater cause.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Wave Break Media
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.