A growing pro-life contingent of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) is opposing the most recent pro-abortion proposals of the Federation. In an attempt to uphold the individual rights of pro-life teachers, the B.C. Teachers for Life (BCTFL) is working hard in the hopes that lobbying, letter-writing and increased representation will reverse the federation’s pro-abortion direction.
The BCTF’s pro-abortion stand, embodied in the Surrey Motion, Resolution 121, has brought much emotion to the divided BCTF. Briefly, the Surrey Motion states that “the BCTF recognizes that a crisis of access to abortion services exists in the province…The BCTF supports the establishment of free-standing abortion clinics…”
One immediately wonders what business the BCTF has in taking a stand on the abortion issue. Readers of the Surrey Leader wrote in to express their own puzzlement. As one reader put it, “I fail to see why teachers, as a body, should get involved in pro-abortion activities.” Or, as a concerned mother asked, “Please teachers, stick to teaching the basics and stay out of abortion politics. It really has nothing to do with teaching.”
Others know how the BCTF justifies this “crisis of access” statement. After all, B.C. has the highest abortion rate pf any Canadian province. (N.W.T. the highest in Canada.) And they question the BCTF’s supporting statement that “the present hospital system (of performing abortions) is…unnecessarily dangerous…(and) increases the risk of medical complications and causes damage to women’s physical and mental health.” Medically speaking, this is nonsense in this day, since a pregnancy is very rarely (if ever) a physical danger.
There are also paradoxical aspects to this whole issue. Most obvious is the bizarre practice whereby teachers would sponsor and support the killing of children. Removing one’s future clientele is rarely good business practice.
Aside from this questionable involvement in abortion politics, the issue of obligatory membership to the BCTF looms large. There is much concern expressed over the possible use of funds to support such causes as Concerned Citizens for Choice on Abortion (CCCA). According to Lila Stanford, president of BCTFL, “some teachers generally feel their consciences have been tried.”
The BCTF has sponsored many positive changes to the benefit of the membership as a whole. But, as the abortion issue takes a more and more prominent position in the BCTF’s agenda, it seems clear that obligatory membership is no longer feasible. As one retired B.C. teacher points out, “Now that the executive takes upon itself to advocate the right of choice to kill another human being before birth, (I) feel that the teachers in favor of life should not be forced to pay fees to bring this about.” It seems that the executive has arbitrarily decided to associate its members with the CCCA, and to spend its members’ money on a free-standing abortion clinic.
Elsie McMurphy, President of the BCTF, claims that the federation “has never given money to CCCA for this (free-standing abortion clinics) or any other project. She does, however, go on to say that BCTF is a CCCA endorser.
This is more than an issue exclusively for pro-lifers. Many are offended by other causes supported by union dues. A solution may lie in the outcome of the Baldwin vs. BCGEU court case. Charles Baldwin is seeking to establish for union members the individual freedom of responsible expression, conscience, belief, thought and association through their elective use of dues’ monies.