JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri union members who have religious objections to abortion may want to watch where their union fees are going, since unions across the nation have poured thousands of dollars into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). But bills proposed by both state and federal lawmakers promise to change this scenario by keeping unions from forcing pro-lifers to fund PPFA.
According to Missouri Representative Eric Burlison, a Republican from Battlefield, unions – many with ties to Missouri – gave at least $735,000 to PPFA, its affiliates, and its political action fund in 2013.
Additionally, many unions around the nation vocally supported Planned Parenthood after the Center for Medical Progress began to release videos in mid-July that exposed the abortion giant for trafficking in aborted baby body parts. Unions have also attacked lawmakers who want to defund Planned Parenthood.
“I want unions to stop supporting issues that have nothing to do with unions and get back to being responsible to their union members,” Burlison told The Pathway. “The reason why they’re allowed to do this is because … their members are locked in and required to pay dues no matter what the union does. And if you’re a Christian and you feel like what your union is doing is morally reprehensible, there is nothing you can do.
“As a Christian, to me, it is appalling to know that these dues are going to support abortion.”
For this reason, Burlison supports Mo. House Bill 116, a Right-to-Work measure that would make union membership in the state optional. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon in June, but Burlison and other lawmakers will attempt to override the veto during a veto session in September.
Currently, Missouri has a Right-to-Work measure in place for public employees, such as teachers. Mo. House Bill 116 applies to unions in private industries.
On the federal level, a bill proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., may also prevent pro-lifers from being forced to fund abortion. According to Heritage Foundation Research Fellow James Sherk, this Employee Rights Act would require “unions to get workers’ permission before they can spend their dues on political activities or give their money to objectionable causes.”