Janet A. Morana is the executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, the world’s largest mobilization of women who have had abortions. A native New Yorker, she was a public school teacher before becoming involved in pro-life work. She co-hosts the Defending Life and Catholic View for Women series on EWTN, and is a frequent guest on other TV and radio programs. She is the recipient of Legatus’ Cardinal John O’Connor Pro-life Hall of Fame Award. Her first book, Recall Abortion, was published by Saint Benedict Press.
With its support of abortion as a “fundamental right,” the National Education Association clearly is not planning ahead.
If the nation’s largest teachers’ union would do the simple math, its leaders might realize that fewer children born translates to fewer students in classrooms, and fewer opportunities for teachers.
And yet, this past weekend, the NEA’s Representative Assembly, meeting in Houston, adopted a new business item that reads, in part:
“… The NEA will include an assertion of our defense of a person’s right to control their own body, especially for women, youth, and sexually marginalized people. The NEA vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.”
We already lose almost a million children to abortion every year in this country, and in fact one-third of the generation conceived since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 has been deprived of the right to life. Do NEA members really want to deprive more children of a birthday?
It would seem they do.
Support for abortion is not a new stance for the NEA, but it is a more strident one. Previously, the official line was that the union supported a woman’s right to “reproductive freedom.” Supporting it now as a fundamental right aligns the teachers with the most “progressive” of the pro-abortion Democrats, many of whom are supported with hefty donations from the NEA.
I am a former New York City public school teacher, and I have some experience with union tactics. I was a member of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), which tried to extract $1 per paycheck for all its members to fund the Committee on Public Education, the union’s political action arm.
According to the UFT website, COPE works “for laws and policies that further education and safeguard our rights; we back candidates who back us; and we support public officials who get things done for our members, parents and students.”
When I was an early childhood educator in the 1990s, I refused to give my $1 per check to COPE because I did not agree with the union stance on abortion. I was a thorn in the side of my chapter leader because she was hoping for 100% participation from her members. I was already volunteering with Priests for Life then – in fact, the ministry’s warehouse was located in my basement – and I would not have even a single dollar from my paycheck go to support politicians or policies that promoted abortion.
When I officially retired from teaching after 12 years to work full time in pro-life, I was feted at a farewell luncheon where more than a few people wondered aloud how I could be leaving the job security and guaranteed pension offered by New York City public schools.
I explained, in my best teacher voice, that I was leaving so I could help ensure my former co-workers would continue to enjoy job security. I told them that a powerful union whose policies impacted the city’s 1.1 million public school children should adopt a pro-life stance and work to end the child killing.
As the NEA’s new resolution shows, that has not happened.
An argument could be made that the work I do now might one day leave me without a job. When abortion becomes not only illegal but unthinkable, pro-life organizations might no longer be needed.
Once that day comes, I will officially retire, again. But instead of a farewell luncheon, I will be treated to a nationwide celebration of life.