BY ANGUS MACDONALD
PRO-LIFERS IN THE union movement are battling to head off moves which would commit Britain's largest trade union to supporting abortion up to birth.
A motion submitted to the forthcoming annual conference of UNISON, the new public service "super-union", calls for affiliation to the National Abortion Campaign, which wants to repeal all abortion legislation.
This would commit the union's million-plus members to abortion up to birth and the abolition of the "conscience" clause for NHS employees.
Tony Mullett of SPUC's northern office said: "This isn't the main business of a union. A moral issue like this on which members have conflicting opinions shouldn't be a matter for national policy.
"We'd love them to affiliate to SPUC or LIFE, but it would be unfair to bind 'millions of members to one view or another."
Peter Hunter, a pro-life Member of UNISON's pational executive, said: -"There has been no policy on abortion since the merger. Now the women's section are going all guns blazing to
change this they have this distorted view that somehow this is a women's rights issue."
His branch has submitted an amendment to the conference, due to take place later this month in Bournemouth, which would neutralise the worst features of the motion.
UNISON was formed last year by a merger of NALGO, NUPE and COHSE, the main public sector unions. Of the three, NALGO was affiliated to the National Abortion Campaign and campaigned actively against the 1988 Alton amendment, NUPE had a pro-abortion policy but didn't actively campaign, and COHSE has opted to remain neutral on the issue for the last 10 years.
"Affiliation is not just a question of financial support," said Mr Mullett. "This motion would mean abortionists using UNISON resources to campaign they would have access to union printing presses and office equipment."
He warned there was a "strong danger" the motion would be approved, and urged members to vote for Mr Hunter's amendment.
The Trade Union movement is overwhelmingly proabortion: no union currently adopts.a pro-life stance.