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Education Reporter

Abortion-Neutral Amendment Fails Again, But 40% Support It
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Every year, pro-life delegates to NEA's Representative Assembly introduce a measure proposing that the union retreat from its pro-abortion stance and instead take no official position on abortion. Currently, the union's Resolution I-16, first drafted in 1985 and unchanged since 1986, 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 also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel."

The pro-life delegates' modest proposal usually takes the form of a New Business Item that would insert the phrase, "with no position on abortion," after the phrase in support of family planning. This year, delegates introduced a similar motion as a bylaw amendment instead of as a New Business Item. This meant that the assembly voted on it by secret, written ballot instead of by voice vote. The proposal never previously received more than about 25% support by voice vote. When delegates were given the opportunity to privately cast their votes on the issue, however, an amazing 39.4% favored the abortion-neutral amendment to the family planning resolution.

Supporters of the amendment who spoke during the debate in open forum reminded delegates that the union was losing members over its pro-abortion politics, among other reasons to support the measure.

Retiring general counsel Bob Chanin laid out for delegates the potential consequences of approving the amendment. NEA would have to remain silent on the issue if Roe v. Wade were challenged, would not be able to lobby for taxpayer-funded abortions, and would not be able to advocate abortion as a means of ending teen pregnancies.

The union's rejection of the amendment, even though it was by a surprisingly small margin, provides yet more proof that NEA is not neutral on abortion.

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