The Federation of Women Teachers Association of Ontario (FWTAO) has put forward the following resolution to be voted on at its annual meeting in Toronto, on August 13, 1984.
Be resolved that FWTAO support the policy of Pro-choice in regards to the reproductive rights.
Underneath the resolution, two rather curious reasons were given in support of the resolution by the board of directors. They were as follows:
(a) as teachers, a positive environment for child rearing is essential
(b) as one of the largest women’s organizations in this province, we believe a woman should be the only one to determine her physiological rights.
However, at least one member of the union was not prepared to accept this resolution. At a Region 3 assembly of the FWTAO, held on May 5, 1984, 150 teachers were addressed by Judy Anderson, who strongly objected to the resolution. She stated, “There were over 90,000 abortions performed in Ontario alone between 1980 and 1982. the incidence of child abuse has not been reduced, but in fact is increasing.”
Further, she stated, there is also no evidence to support the implication that children of unwanted pregnancies are mistreated. She also said, “I think the prerequisite in the mind of society that will provide a positive environment for child rearing, is one that welcomes new life…I believe that abortion is the first violence that children experience at the hands of an adult.”
The president of FWTAO, Susan Hildreth, was also in attendance, and described Mrs. Anderson’s statement as “reasonable.” She also made it clear that it had not been her wish that the pro-abortion motion be included, due to its divisive nature, in the August meeting of the union, but that it could not be stopped since the movers were not willing to withdraw it.
In fact, in her column, “Letter from the President” (included in the FWTAO April/May 1984 newsletter), Ms. Hildreth included abortion, with nuclear war, violent and sadistic pornography, child abuse, and unemployment, as one of the major ills of our society. She pointed to abortions as being one of the reasons why there is a decline of jobs for teachers, an unpleasant but obvious connection that has rarely, if ever, been publicly stated.