UAW

Here is a glimpse of what the UAW, the United Auto Workers, support and how it is harmful to the family unit:

In July 2003, the UAW announced that it was seeking to cover elective abortions in employee health insurance plans. The request was made to General Motors Corporation and Chrysler Group however, it is unknown if the Ford Motor Company was requested to pay for abortions. The Detroit Free Press reported that it was “unclear” how serious the union was about the proposal and that it could fall to the wayside. The then-current contract expired on September 14, 2003, leaving the new one to cover 307,000 workers and 522,000 retirees, surviving spouses, and dependents.

In the UAW’s proposal to automakers:

  • UAW requested Chrsyler to “expand benefits related to reproductive services.”
  • At General Motors, the UAW requested that “professional fees for elective pregnancy termination be covered.”
  • Abortions would be covered, not only for current workers but also for retirees. In 2003, company officials stated that abortions were only covered in rare circumstances when “medically necessary.” As well, since the health care plans cover dependents, teenage daughters would be able to obtain abortions without parental consent as well.

From the beginning of the abortion proposal, two big hurdles existed:

  • Pro-life groups were organizing protests.
  • Four states prohibit abortion coverage in all insurance policies, except for the life of the mother. Two of those states – Kentucky and Missouri both had plants in them. In 2003, the other two states were Idaho and North Dakota.

In September 2003, it was announced that the “Big Three” automakers ( and two major auto parts manufacturers (Delphi Corporation and Visteon Corporation) would not agree to pay for elective abortions under new contracts set to be ratified by United Auto Workers members. According to Right to Life of Michigan, it was the protests by union members that may have had an impact – some union members even went as far as saying they would fight ratification. Other factors included plant closings and job losses that would hit 50,000 over the next four years.

In reaction to the course of negotiations, UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker stated, “These were difficult, complex sets of negotiations that were handled in probably the most professional manner that I have experienced.” Calls and petitions to both the union and the automakers, mainly by union members, may have contributed to the decision to drop the proposed addition however, neither union nor the automakers ever responded formally to the protests. The UAW, while never making an official stance on abortion, has made several remarks in support of abortion.

Historically, polls have shown that union members don’t want their union dues to pay for abortions.

  • In 1990, 77% of union households believed that the AFL-CIO should remain neutral. At the time, abortion advocates were pressing the AFL-CIO to take a formal position on abortion.

More information on the 2003 proposal can be found here.