In a new report, America’s largest teachers union is encouraging educators to bargain for their health care coverage to include abortion.
The National Education Association’s Feb. 14 report, “Bargaining and Advocacy in a Post Roe Environment,” advises teachers how to ask for insurance coverage for surgical and chemical abortions, including reimbursement for out-of-state abortion travel expenses.
“NEA supports bargaining for broad comprehensive reproductive health care coverage,” the report reviewed by The Daily Signal reads. “Collective bargaining gives educators a voice in their workplace, and a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) can be a vital tool in preserving coverage of contraception, abortion, and related health care benefits.”
The NEA recommends members review their contracts with their school district employers to “identify the reproductive rights and health care protections” and “ensure that the reproductive rights addressed are comprehensive.” The union urges members to bargain for abortion “benefits and protections” where they are not already offered.
Due to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June that overturned Roe v. Wade and resulted in a number of states restricting or banning abortion, many individuals will travel to get one, according to the report.
“Because the costs associated with having to travel for care will be prohibitive for many, it is important for affiliates to consider exploring avenues of financial support through bargaining,” the report says.
The document refers to abortion as “care,” “medical care,” “health care,” and “reproductive care.”
Teachers bargaining for abortion coverage should ask for their insurance to cover travel costs and out-of-pocket abortion-related expenses, the report states.
“Without an expansive coverage of in-network providers, pregnant patients forced to travel out of state may experience large out-of-pocket expenses or find that their insurance provides no coverage for such services,” the NEA wrote.
“When bargaining, ensure that out-of-pocket expenses do not render reproductive services cost prohibitive,” the report continues. “In addition to the insurance coverage for the cost of services and travel, language can be bargained that requires reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses so that additional funds are provided if the pregnant patient has related costs for seeking health care services.”
Contracts should respect the privacy of employees missing extended periods of work for out-of-state abortions, the report says. The NEA adds that teachers deserve paid leave to be able to travel to abort their unborn babies. The report includes a sample contract allowing teachers six weeks of paid sick leave without a doctor’s note to cover absences caused by abortions.
“In situations where individuals requiring an abortion or other reproductive care are forced to travel great distances, the need for substantially more paid leave will be necessary,” the report says. “Therefore, unions should consider addressing these needs in bargaining.”
Insurance coverage for “reproductive services” should include “medical and mental health services, in-clinic and medication abortion services, prescription medications, emergency care, preventative/wellness care, miscarriage care, IVF procedures and related services, mail delivery for prescription medications, and telehealth services,” according to the guide.
The term “abortion” refers to both “surgical and medication,” meaning coverage for Plan B pills and abortion-inducing pills is “essential,” the report states. The NEA wrote that educators should bargain for low-cost mail delivery of abortion pills.
Chemical abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy are responsible for more than half of all abortions each year in the United States, making the two-drug regimen the most common way to end an unborn life in America.
The report advises teachers to negotiate waiting periods to ensure “coverage for reproductive services begin with the first day of employment.” It encourages members to seek health care plans that don’t limit abortion access.
“While the Affordable Care Act prohibits plans from using a lifetime or annual dollar limit on essential health benefits, plans may still include restrictions on the number of services, visits, etc., to limit utilization,” it reads. “When bargaining, ensure that these restrictions do not place undue hardship on pregnant patients and make reproductive services prohibitive.”
The NEA report calls pregnant women “pregnant persons,” “pregnant individuals,” “pregnant employees,” or “pregnant patients.”
The report claims Biden administration policies require doctors to perform abortions to save “the life of a pregnant person” in states with abortion bans without life-of-the-mother exceptions. While 24 states have outlawed abortion or are likely to do so since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the report does not disclose that each state law includes exceptions to save the life of the mother in medical emergencies. The Guttmacher Institute is a pro-abortion research organization that was spun off from Planned Parenthood.
The NEA report also suggests the Roe ruling “exacerbated” preexisting problems in the child care system by increasing the number of births.
“With the potential of individuals being forced to go through with unwanted pregnancies, along with educator shortages becoming increasingly more prevalent in states across the country, it is vital that we find ways to deal with both the reproductive rights and the child care crisis,” the report says.
Contracts should protect teachers from repercussions for advocating and bargaining for abortion from parents, administrators, school board members, community groups, or other employees, according to the report.
“Due to the extreme divisiveness and widening political division around abortion and reproductive rights, strong protections against discipline and other forms of retaliation may be necessary if they aren’t established already,” the report says.
Jay Richards, director of The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family, said the NEA report exemplifies what’s wrong with the NEA. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“This is just the latest of countless examples proving that the NEA is not about improving education for American students, but is a left-wing lobbying organization,” he told The Daily Signal. “Their new report is an unapologetic training manual for teachers on how to access abortion.”
The NEA did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
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