An Ohio educator was stunned when he retrieved his mail one day to discover he had been unwittingly supporting the intentional death of unborn children.
The news came to him in the form of a mailer from the conservative advocacy group Freedom Foundation. As he read it, the teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, learned his union dues were being dispersed to advance abortion-on-demand policies.
The teacher revealed he was, “appalled.”
“Sickened, really,” he said. “I was always of the belief that educators, regardless of the educational area, sought to help children, but clearly there are deeper, darker intentions which are never outlined when one joins a teacher union.”
The very thought his dues were helping a cause he was vehemently against, abortion, left him feeling ashamed that he was not earlier aware as to where these funds were going.
He also described the educational system’s labor unions as, “hypocritical.”
“If education unions really represented those who educate children, they wouldn’t align themselves with anything that helps pay for abortions,” he said. “It’s clear that certain aspects of the educational field have and are built on the principle that children’s lives don’t matter regardless of whether those children are in the womb or in the classroom.”
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Lauren Bowen, the Ohio director for the Freedom Foundation, said contributions go directly to Planned Parenthood and state affiliates, along with the organization’s various political arms, such as the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes.
Unions also send funds to similar organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice America.
“While it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that additional union funds benefit Planned Parenthood and similar groups through payments to lobbyists, campaigns, etc., this is far more difficult to track,” she said. “For the sake of documentation, there is ample evidence that unions contribute directly to these groups.”
The money is also fungible.
“If a teachers union gives money to Planned Parenthood to help with rent and utility expenses, that’s money that Planned Parenthood doesn’t have to spend of its own resources and can then direct the unused funds toward abortive services,” Bowen explained.
And this is not a new issue.
“Almost certainly much longer than publicly available data can tell us,” Bowen said when asked how long this has been going on.
And according to a search of federal LM-2 reports (required for labor organizations with $250,000 or more in total annual receipts) filed with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management-Standards (OLMS), it’s been since at least 2007, she said.
Specifically, a search of “Planned Parenthood” on the OLMS’ Payer/Payee search page – which allows users to search for payments to and from labor unions – reveals a number of contributions over the years - dating back to a 2007 report showing a $10,000 payment from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
“The largest annual contributions to date have been $400,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in 2014, followed by $350,000 from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in 2016,” Bowen added.
And like the Ohio educator who first came to Pregnancy Help News with this information, various others have been equally stunned.
“Many teachers have no idea that their union dues are going to support political agenda items like Planned Parenthood,” Bowen said, “and when they find out that they are actually funding things they don’t support they are angry and grateful for the information.”
“We get many notes of thanks for making them aware of how their dues are being used because they aren’t hearing about it from their union,” she added.
And yet no teacher union officials have addressed the issue, Bowen said.
“Many teachers do not agree with the actions their unions have taken,” said Bowen, “and we want them to know they don’t have to fund a political agenda they don’t support.”
She hopes many educators will look into this issue themselves, noting that unions are required to file annual financial reports with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) , and that the reports are publicly available on the DOL’s OLMS Online Public Disclosure Room database.
While more extensive research is possible, Bowen said the OLMS “Payer/Payee” search would be the easiest way for the general public to find documentation of union contributions to Planned Parenthood.
For example, a simple search of “Planned Parenthood” yielded the results from 2007-2020 referenced above. The search results include a link to each responsive LM-2 report, which can then be searched by keyword to find the specific transactions.
For his part, the teacher is glad the mailers are getting the word out, because conversation about the pro-life issue is not common in the education field, at least in his particular case.
He speculates that those who subscribe to pro-choice beliefs may have such exchanges in the workplace though he’s not observed them firsthand, possibly because the teachers with whom he shares a personal connection outside of school are pro-life.
Such discussions within the walls of his school can be tricky, the teacher told Pregnancy Help News.
“Discussing one’s opinions and beliefs on pro-life and pro-choice isn’t really discussed or explored among educators at my educational institution,” he said.