Trent England | March 18, 2015

Taxpayer subsidies to abortion politics could end

Trent England

A measure now pending in the Oklahoma Senate could extend the principle of right-to-work laws to state taxpayers. While workers in Oklahoma cannot be forced to support unions and union politics, current law forces taxpayers to provide dues-collection services to unions. This in-kind subsidy from taxpayers supports some surprising political causes.

The National Education Association (NEA) is a national union funded by state affiliates including the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA). Ultimately, these organizations rely on dues from workers to support their political agenda. In some states, including Oklahoma, government serves as the unions’ dues collector.

When it comes to one particularly controversial issue, abortion, the agenda of the OEA-supported NEA is radical, going far beyond even the Roe decision.

  • The NEA has long endorsed a resolution declaring that the union “supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom,” and “urges government” to provide such “planning” services (Resolution I-17, p. 88).
  • This NEA resolution language was explained during an NEA convention as support for abortion with “no limitations,” including of an unborn child capable of living outside the womb and partial-birth abortion.
  • The NEA killed a resolution to oppose sex-selection abortions.
  • The NEA has voted down resolutions to take a neutral position on abortion.
  • The NEA has cosponsored pro-abortion activism, working with other extreme pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
  • The NEA committed $60 million to the reelection of President Barack Obama.

The Oklahoma Education Association and its members have the right to participate in pro-abortion politics and take radical positions like defending sex-selection abortion and partial-birth abortion. In Oklahoma, workers also have the right to refuse to participate in or pay for union politics. Thanks to the state’s right-to-work law, union contracts cannot require workers to pay union dues or else be fired.

House Bill 1749 would extend this principle to state taxpayers. Right now, unions like the Oklahoma Education Association are able to use government as their dues collector. This amounts to a subsidy—a gift of administrative support that may also give workers the impression that union dues are mandatory, like tax withholding or insurance premiums. HB 1749 would take government out of the business of collecting dues for unions at the state and school-district levels, and disentangle taxpayers from union politics.

Trent England David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. England is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” He has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of Why We Must Defend the Electoral College and a contributor to The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. A former legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, he holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.

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