CAW says a woman's right to choose is an organizational stand
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union claim to be a progressive union, which, they say, means the 200,000 member organization believes in abortion. With the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform's (CCBR) New Abortion Caravan campaign touring the country, CAW's women's department is advising members to counter-protest the pro-life initiative.
"We are supporting a women's right to choose," said Julie White, CAW's director of women's programs. "We've been behind women's right to choose for long time. We are a social union; our workers lives don't just revolve around work."
She said it's important for the union to fight for the rights of workers in the workplace and through political action.
CAW has taken on many issues that don't necessarily relate to the many sectors it represents. The union has lobbied to keep the National Gun Registry and continues advocacy for a national transit strategy and other causes they say affect their members.
Stephanie Gray, CCBR executive director, thinks CAW is crossing a line by taking a firm stand on abortion. She said it's unlikely that every member of the union is pro-abortion.
"I find it shocking that the largest private workers' union in the country is using its union dues to advocate for abortion," she said.
"Participation in this union is mandatory, and yet people like CAW president Ken Lewenza are using the union dues of pro-life auto workers to advocate for Canada's status quo as the only Western democracy to have no abortion restrictions.
"Canadians are forced to fund abortion with their tax dollars, and now CAW members are being forced to advocate for it with their union dues. It is unfortunate that Ken Lewenza has no respect for his members' freedom of conscience."
White told The B.C. Catholic Gray is wrong about union dues being used to fund abortion advocacy. She said political issues are supported on a volunteer basis. CAW, she said, is a progressive union that doesn't support violence against women, which she said includes denying the women the right to choose.
She added CAW's support for abortion is the same as the Catholic Church's support for fighting abortion. White, a Catholic herself, doesn't think the Church should use money collected from its faithful for pro-life causes.
"White should look into her faith and realize the Church is pro-life," said John Hof, president of Campaign Life Coalition B.C. Hof said White's analogy digresses into the absurd.
CAW is working with pro-abortion groups to counter the remaining New Abortion Caravan stops in Ontario. The Caravan's journey will conclude in Ottawa July 1.
"The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform want to take away our rights using fear, guilt, and shock tactics," White said. She praised the efforts of the original Abortion Caravan that campaigned for abortion rights in 1970.
Hof chuckled at White's support of the original caravan, saying those organizers used shock tactics themselves to spread their message of choice.
Gray and the CCBR hope the New Abortion Caravan will facilitate an end to abortion. The caravan has several cube vans with images of aborted babies. The caravan stops in cities across Canada where CCBR members give presentations about the horrors of abortion.