CEOs from 180 companies signed on to a full-page ad in the New York Times released Monday, claiming recent, restrictive abortion laws, passed in states like Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri, are “bad for business.”
The list of CEOs includes Twitter’s Jack Dorsey (though, after his name, he lists his other company, payment processor, Square) as well as the heads of Postmates, Slack, Yelp, H&M, and Tinder, as well as a handful of fashion designers and Ben and Jerry of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
The letter claims that “it’s time for companies to stand up for reproductive health care,” and that restricting abortion is “bad for business,” though the letter makes no real connection between the availability of abortion and the business climate of a particular state. Instead, they claim, restricting “reproductive freedom” is “against our values.”
States that threaten abortion, the CEOs say, threaten “the health, independence, and economic stability of our employees and customers.”
“Equality in the workplace is one of the most important business issues of our time,” the ad goes on. “When everyone is empowered to succeed, our companies, our communities, and our economy are better for it.”
“Restricting access,” it continues, “to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers. Simply put, it goes against our values, and is bad for business.”
The ACLU and Planned Parenthood rounded up the CEOs for the ad and produced the content — but without apparent regard for what any of the businesses, helmed by their own signatories, actually do or where they operate.
For starters, the statement made — that without abortion, businesses will find the health, independence and economic stability of their employees threatened — seems to imply that work-life balance is outdated, and that the CEOs and their respective companies don’t value the idea of employees having a family. The only way restricting the practice of abortion ultimately affects these CEOs’ bottom lines’ is if they have to pay out benefits for employees who choose to have their children rather than kill their children.
It’s convenient, financially, but flies in the face of modern feminism’s demand that companies be cognizant and respectful of their female employees’ choices without regard for cost.
In a statement accompanying the ad, NARAL’s president, Ilyse Hogue, applauded the CEOs for “taking a stand on behalf of employees,” but seemed to casually forget that employees have priorities other than the availability of a cruel “healthcare” practice.
“NARAL applauds the business leaders signing the #DontBanEquality letter for taking a stand on behalf of their employees, customers, and communities, and affirming the mainstream view that women deserve to be able to make private, personal medical decisions without politicians interfering,” her statement read.
There’s also the more practical consideration of business climate. Although states like Georgia are restricting abortion, they’re also extending deep credits to corporations who relocate to their state, making Georgia appealing despite its abortion laws. Certainly a handful of companies have said they’re “pulling out” of Georgia over the law, but most companies made business decisions based on, well, business.
If abortion were the sole factor by which a company determined where to locate, Twitter and Postmates would be eyeing Illinois — the state with the most permissive abortion laws in the country. But they aren’t relocating, because Illinois also has the most regressive taxation scheme.
Several of these companies also seem to ignore that they do a large part of their business in countries were social control is much heavier than it is in the United States, like China.