Why does UNISON subsidise the abortion industry?
His Grace has received quite literally hundreds of emails, tweets and DMs over the past few days – very many of them unpleasant and personally abusive, and almost all of them misunderstanding the proposed Dorries/Field amendment to the forthcoming Health and Social Care Bill, or purposely seeking to misrepresent it.
If His Grace’s email box is anything to go by, it is the opinion of many that a woman’s womb is nothing to do with the Government. It is a curious proposition, leaving the woman to do with her ‘foetus’ whatever she wishes, presumably right up to the point of birth. The ‘religious nutters’ like Nadine Dorries should butt out, they say, and leave the enlightened, progressive, ‘pro-choice’ politicians to do the right thing. And then, of course, we arrive at a point where women may not even be selected as parliamentary candidates unless they are sponsored by Emily’s List, which ensures that Labour’s green benches are packed with abortion-supporting women, thereby creating an inbuilt pro-abortion majority in perpetuity.
If the Roman Catholic Church were to do that, to attempt to gerrymander a hint of ‘Pro-life’ bias, there would be uproar.
But if a woman’s womb is nothing to do with the Government, what concern is it of a trade union?
It appears that UNISON (amongst other unions) finance the 'Pro-choice' group known as 'Abortion Rights'. Why is this? Why should 'religious nutters' be barred from propagating their dogma while political activists are free to spout their ideology? Abortion Rights say of themselves:
We are an active membership-based democratic campaigning organisation. In additional to individual members, we are delighted to have the support of NUS and civil society organisations as well as the TUC and national trade unions including AMICUS , ASLEF , CWU , FBU , NAPO , PCS , RMT , T&G , TSSA , UCU , UNISON , trade union regions, branches, sections and individual trade unionists.The manner and form of this ‘support’ is nowhere disclosed, but it would be a fair bet that in some cases it is financial. Abortion Rights do choose to reveal:
We would like to thank The Feminist Review Trust , UNISON's General Political Fund, and Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust for the generous financial support they have made towards our campaigning activities.Generous financial support? Do UNISON members know their subscriptions are being used in this way?
We are not simply talking here about maintaining women’s current rights on abortion, or promoting their welfare in the workplace, both of which may be considered wholly proper pursuits for a trade union. No, Abortion Rights seek to go much further:
We are campaigning to defend and extend women's rights and access to safe, legal abortion. We oppose any attack on the 1967 Abortion Act including any attempt to lower the abortion time limit. 40 years after the introduction of safe, legal abortion in Britain women's rights should be advanced not driven back. A consistent three quarters of people support a woman's right to choose in Britain. We believe the law should be brought into line with public opinion - so that women can make their own reproductive decisions without the current unfair legal barriers, obstructions and delays.Presumably, they seek even to abolish the need for the consent of two doctors before a baby is terminated. Whilst reiterating (once again) that the Dorries/Field amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill interferes with none of the legal rights already established, Abortion Rights are actively campaigning to oppose the move, portraying it at as ‘anti-choice’ amendment (the strategy revealed yesterday).
So why are trades unions supporting the aggressive tactics of Abortion Rights? And why is UNISON doing so with ‘generous financial support’? The union declares unequivocally on its own website: ‘UNISON is affiliated to Abortion Rights’.
To be affiliated is to be attached, connected, associated (literally, ‘adopted as a son’).
His Grace knows quite a few Roman Catholics who refuse to support charitable events like Red Nose Day because some of the money raised goes to fund abortion provision in the developing world. Fair enough. But by the same standard, how may any Roman Catholic be a member of UNISON when they are ‘affiliated' to Abortion Rights? Indeed, how may any Christian who is concerned with the issue of abortion help to finance a trade union which actively supports a group dedicated to ending all ‘legal barriers, obstructions and delays’?
Pope Benedict XVI has called abortion a ‘crime of aggression not only against the unborn, but also against society’. It is, he says, ‘never a solution’. Moreover, the decriminalising of abortion is a ' betrayal of democracy’ against which all Christians should make a stand.
According to the Vatican, abortion is the primary issue 'because it negates two of our most fundamental moral imperatives: respect for innocent life, and preferential concern for the weak and defenceless'.
It is not the business of His Grace to direct his readers or communicants on any issue of conscience: he is Anglican, and holds that believers may bring their own reasoning faculties to Scripture and interpret it in accordance with Christian tradition.
But it is inconceivable to him that a Christian who prioritises the issue of abortion could be a member of UNISON, which is in a self-declared partnership with Abortion Rights not merely to sustain the status quo but to extend abortion provision and advance the cause of those who wish to terminate the unborn. Individual union members have NO CHOICE about this: their subscriptions are handed over regardless of their personal beliefs.
From the information in the public domain and presented here, it is His Grace’s considered opinion that membership of UNISON (and other unions which subsidise or ‘support’ the work of Abortion Rights) is certainly incompatible with the traditions and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Is it not time for a mass exodus?