The CAW has chosen a side in the abortion debate.
The union is making it clear, it is pro-choice.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, national union president Ken Lewenza outlined the union's stance.
Lewenza wrote the letter in response to Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion to examine whether the Criminal Code definition of "human being" should be expanded to include fetuses.
"Less than a year into a majority government, we see the debate being cracked open by a member of the Conservative caucus," Lewenza wrote. "Nothing has been as offensive as the suggestion that government may infringe on women’s rights over their own bodies and freedom of choice."
Monday, the CAW will hold pro-choice rallies in Windsor and London, Ont.
CAW local 444 in Windsor will hold its rally at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Tecumseh Road East and Turner Road, near the Met Campus of Windsor Regional Hospital parking lot.
The rallies will be staged to counter demonstrations by the anti-abortion group Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, which will bring its "new abortion caravan" to London on Monday evening.
The caravans feature graphic photos, poster and large box-body trucks covered in similar photos.
Similar CAW events are planned and have taken place throughout the month of June in cities all across Canada.
"Our choice is pro-choice," states the CAW's national website.
"The fear, guilt, and shock tactics behind the caravan works only to alienate the general public," CAW Local 444 second vice president Fran Lasorda said in an email to CBC Windsor. "These tactics are meant to terrify women, rather than work towards a well informed and safe decision."
When contacted by CBC News hours before the rally, Lasorda said she was too busy planning the rally to talk about it.
Local 444 president Dino Chiodo said the rally in Windsor was not planned through his local and had no further comment.
Stephanie Gray, the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, called the union's decision to join the debate "mysterious."
"Some conceptions occur in cars. However, until abortions start happening in cars, I don't see why an autoworkers' union would take a position on this matter," Gray said. "Unions should focus on workplace-related matters. Abortion is not a workplace-related matter."
Gray said it's not right for the union to force a universal view on its members. She also her group is not forcing people to view the graphic imagery it will display and distribute Monday.
"We're communicating a message," she said. "Individuals are free to protest and groups which want to exist specifically with a mandate to fight us can do that. But a union exists to address workplace matters."
Where The Parties Stand On Abortion
Here's a look at the official position of Canada's federal parties, and how the controversial debate has reared its head in recent years. <em>With files from CBC</em>
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly said that he has no interest in addressing the issue head-on.<br><br>"As long as I am prime minister we are not opening the abortion debate," Mr. Harper said in April 2011. "The government will not bring forward any such legislation, and any such legislation that is brought forward will be defeated as long as I am prime minister." (CP)
NDP leader Tom Mulcair has stated that his caucus is unanimous in its opposition to the private member's motion calling on Parliament to look at whether a fetus is a human being, but he plans to force his MPs to vote along party lines.<br><br>"We're resolutely in favour of women's right to choose," Mulcair declared. (CP)
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae has stressed that the abortion issue is matter of individual conscience. Rae expressed his personal opposition to reopening the debate, but said Liberal MPs will be allowed to vote "their conscience" rather than force them to toe the party line.<br><br>"Our position on reproductive choice, my position on reproductive choice is very, very clear. It has been for decades. The position is it's a person's right to choose." (CP)
Planned Parenthood Funding Controversy
Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost tells Saskatchewan's ProLife Association in April 2011 that the federal government has decided to cut funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a decision he says was influenced by anti-abortion supporters.<br><br>"I cannot tell you specifically how we used it, but those petitions were very, very useful and they were part of what we used to defund Planned Parenthood because it has been an absolute disgrace that that organization and several others like it have been receiving one penny of Canadian taxpayers' dollars," Trost said.<br><br>Maurice Vellacott, a Conservative MP from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, also calls for Planned Parenthood to be defunded.<br><br>Vellacott says the controversy over the funding "exposed the lies and destructiveness of IPPF's agenda."<br><br>"It exposes what this abortion giant is surreptitiously trying to achieve worldwide."<br><br>International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda approves funding. (CP)
'Coerced' Abortion Law
Conservative Winnipeg MP Rod Bruinooge proposes "Roxanne's Law" in 2010, a bill that would penalize anyone who "coerced" a woman into ending her pregnancy against her will.<br><br>"It's not just as simple as feeling pressured to get an abortion; there is a lot of discussion of sex-selection abortion these days, as well," Bruinooge told the Winnipeg Free Press. "It's part of the overall topic of intimidation that goes towards a pregnant woman."<br><br>Bruinooge insisted the bill wasn't meant to force Parliament to wade into the debate banned by Harper, stating that nothing in his bill made it illegal to abort a fetus.<br><br>But the Liberals and New Democrats saw it as a backdoor entry into the touchy topic.<br><br>"How is an abortion bill not an abortion bill?" said then-Liberal MP Anita Neville. "This certainly introduces discussion into the House of Commons and it is a rather sneaky way of doing it."<br><br>Then-NDP leader Jack Layton echoed her concerns. "You have got to wonder what is really going on here."<br><br>The bill was defeated in December of 2010, with 178 votes for and 97 against it. Harper and many Conservatives voted against it and 10 Liberals supported it. The NDP was unanimously against it. (Handout)
International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda discloses for the first time in April 2011 that Canada will not fund abortions in its G8 child and maternal health-care initiative for developing countries.<br><br>Keith Martin, then-Liberal MP who had defected from the Tories years earlier, expressed outrage. "People here are perplexed and wondering why Canada is rolling back the clock and depriving women in developing countries from having the same rights to basic health care and access to abortion as women in Canada," he said.<br><br>Then-NDP leader Jack Layton accused the Tories of putting Canada on side with former U.S. president George Bush, who reduced support for abortion-related aid.<br><br>"It's picking up the banner that George Bush used to carry, and I think that that's not something that would be supported by the majority of Canadians, that's for sure," Layton said.<br><br>On June 25, Canada pledged $1.1 billion to a global initiative on maternal and child health for developing countries - a disproportionately high amount compared to other G8 countries. Canada did not allow for its share to be used in the funding of abortions. (CP)