Diary

Unions Funding Planned Parenthood: The Case for Right to Work

Yet another round of undercover video footage of Planned Parenthood officials discussing potentially illegal practices involved in the sale of remains and organ harvesting has emerged. The ongoing firestorm has ignited a national debate over the controversy of taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood. The nation’s largest abortion provider has benefitted from hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars under the Obama Administration.

But another important facet of this issue has been overlooked: the use of compulsory union dues to fund the nation’s largest abortion provider – particularly in the face of objections from dues payers who disagree with the organization’s practices and policy objectives. As the Washington Free Beacon reported, labor groups sent nearly half a million dollars to Planned Parenthood last year. The largest abortion provider used nearly all of those funds for political advocacy, which means much of it went back into Democratic campaigns.

What about union members who oppose abortion? In states without laws banning coercive unionism (currently about half), workers have little recourse. Union leaders can order them fired for refusing to pay their dues into what essentially amounts to a slush fund for liberal causes, groups and candidates.

The legality of compulsory union dues, therefore, represents a major issue in the fight to protect freedom of speech. It’s a battle that will play out in Missouri next week when the legislature votes to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of Right to Work legislation.

As Watchdog.org has reported, the right-to-work bill on the table in Missouri simply means unions “cannot force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment, leaving workers the choice whether to join the union.” Or to paraphrase our president: “If you like your union, you can keep your union,” but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Missouri’s right-to-work bill has support from a majority of Missourians, a majority of the lawmakers representing them, and a majority of Americans across the country. At this point, in fact, pretty much the only groups standing with Democrats in opposition to right-to-work are the unions themselves.

As I have argued before, the debate over this bill, and similar laws in other states that have preceded it, hinges on the principle of individual choice and freedom of expression. This is not just an issue for pro-life advocates. It’s not even about bashing unions per se – right-to-work laws can actually help make unions stronger in the long run by making them more competitive. It is a battle to protect the first amendment rights of all citizens. Allowing the government to have the power to compel citizens to contribute to political causes they vehemently oppose is a dangerous precedent that must be reversed. States like Missouri can start by passing right-to-work and ending compulsory union dues.