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Education Reporter

Pro-lifers Challenge the NEA

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For the 22nd year in a row, the NEA renewed its Family Planning resolution, I-13, which states: "The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association urges the government to give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities. The Association further urges the implementation of community-operated school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel."

The NEA further affirmed its support for abortion beginning in 1990, when it passed New Business Item 65 by an overwhelming majority. This item declared strong support for Roe v. Wade and opposition to any legislation that would limit the broad abortion license granted by Roe.

The NEA has cosponsored pro-abortion rallies with groups such as the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the National Organization for Women.The NEA has close ties to Planned Parenthood. For example, Randall Moody, NEA's chief lobbyist, formerly served on the board of Planned Parenthood's political action arm. He is also connected with Republicans for Choice. Like the AFT, the NEA serves on the Leadership Council of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP), which "consists of pro-choice organizations that can take the message of PEP to each of their constituencies" (PEP: www. protectchoice.org).

In 1992, NEA passed New Business Item 29, establishing an annual fund of $50,000 in grants to pro-abortion advocates across the nation. The NEA promised to award this amount in grants every year until passage of the Freedom of Choice Act. FOCA has not passed, although it has often surfaced in Congress: most recently after the Supreme Court upheld the ban on Partial Birth Abortion.

The current NEA website tries to deny that is has a pro-abortion policy, but nevertheless states that the "NEA supports the current protections guaranteed under the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. This decision allows women to decide for themselves if they should have children — or not have children — and protects the constitutional rights of all women, whether they are pro-choice or anti-abortion." (www.nea.org/topic/truths.html)

At this year's NEA annual meeting, pro-life teachers and area residents gathered to protest the NEA's support of abortion. Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS), a national group, spearheaded the effort. Protesters held signs with slogans such as "Repeal NEA Res. I-13 — Be abortion neutral," "Abortion is a savage act of violence," and "25 abortions = 1 lost class."

"We are not asking the NEA's leadership to reverse their pro-abortion agenda and adopt a pro-life position," said PLEAS National Coordinator Bob Pawson. Instead, PLEAS wants leadership "to totally disengage our union from the abortion issue, thus making NEA truly neutral and completely non-involved." (The Bulletin, 7-2-07) Pro-life activists inside the convention center distributed educational pamphlets with pictures on human development within the womb. The pamphlets contained pictures of weeks-old human embryos as well as facts on embryology.

This year for the first time the pro-lifers were able to get an amendment on the floor to make NEA abortion-neutral. After a 15-minute debate, the amendment was referred to committee, effectively killing it.

Support of abortion is very important to the NEA Women's Caucus. The group's seven goals include the goal to "support, provide and disseminate information regarding a woman's right to choose." The Women's Caucus also strives to promote affirmative action for women, advance Title IX into new areas, and push for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

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