NEW YORK — Leaders representing more than 50 companies spoke out in a unified voice today against Texas’ extreme abortion ban, SB 8, and similar abortion restrictions in other states that may advance in the coming months. SB 8 bans abortion after approximately six weeks of pregnancy and allows almost anyone to sue abortion providers and others who support a person attempting to obtain abortion care. As a result, the overwhelming majority of abortion care in Texas stopped on Sept. 1 when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed SB 8 to take effect. The law’s language is so broad that anyone who offers information or referrals for abortion care, drives the patient to a facility, helps them pay for their abortion — or merely intends to do any of these things — could face a lawsuit. If such a lawsuit is successful, the person being sued would be forced to pay at least $10,000 and be required to pay the plaintiff's court costs.
Companies from a range of industries — including venture capital, retail, technology, and consulting — with a combined workforce of more than 322,000 and revenue over $20 billion — signed on to “Don’t Ban Equality in Texas.” The statement is supported by large companies and small businesses, including those with workers in Texas who are directly impacted. Signatories include: Stitch Fix, Atlassian, Momentive, Patagonia, Yelp, Glossier, Mercury Fund, OJO Labs, and many more. Together, they affirm that restrictions on access to abortion threaten the health and economic stability of their workers and customers — making it bad for business. Excerpt from the statement:
When everyone is empowered to succeed, our companies, our communities, and our economy are better for it.
The economic losses from existing abortion restrictions, including labor force impact and earnings, already cost the State of Texas an estimated $14.5 billion annually. Nationally, state-level restrictions cost state economies $105 billion dollars per year.
Simply put, policies that restrict reproductive health care go against our values and are bad for business. It impairs our ability to build diverse and inclusive workforce pipelines, recruit top talent across states, and protect the well-being of all the people who keep our businesses thriving day in and out.
This is the second time since 2019 that a statement has been issued by companies given the direct business impact of these restrictions. States considering copycat abortion bans such as Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota could face more dramatic economic losses if such legislation is enacted. For these states, existing restrictions translate into economic losses ranging $326 million in South Dakota to $6.6 billion in Florida.
National organizations that protect and expand access to reproductive health care — including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Center for Reproductive Rights — have seen a strong uptick in companies wanting to respond to recent attacks on reproductive health access. This follows an alarming trend of abortion bans passing in states across the country in 2021. As a result, these organizations have sustained the Don’t Ban Equality coalition to organize businesses to declare that restricting reproductive health, including access to abortion, goes against the values of their companies and hinders efforts to promote equality in the workplace, putting their businesses, communities, and the U.S. economy at risk.
Statement from Anthony D. Romero, executive director, ACLU:
“Abortion access in Texas is a workers’ rights issue — and employers shouldn’t stand on the sidelines as their employees are denied their constitutional right to an abortion. Business leaders have no choice but to speak up for their employees — or their silence will be complicity. Texas’ six-week abortion ban is wreaking havoc across the state, forever changing the lives of Texans forced to carry pregnancies against their will or travel hundreds of miles out of state for time-sensitive medical care.
“Today, dozens of companies are taking a stand against politicians preventing workers from making the decisions that are right for their lives and their families. We are at an inflection point in this country: With Texans already suffering under this cruel ban, anti-abortion politicians in other states are lining up to introduce similar laws. As we continue to do everything in our power to block this devastating policy, we need more companies to join this fight — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s a smart business decision to stand up for workers who are the backbone of the economy.”
Statement from Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“A person's right to access reproductive health care is crucial to succeeding in the workplace. The ability to decide if or when to have a family without political interference is essential for each person to make decisions about their health, life, and future. Every company that has come forward to stand up and stop the relentless assault on access is demonstrating that they put people first – in their organizations and communities.
“We need more companies to join us as the Center for Reproductive Rights stands ready to defend our clients against other vigilante lawsuits this draconian abortion ban could unleash."
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“With Roe on the line and Texas’ abortion ban emboldening anti-abortion lawmakers across the country to introduce copycat laws, the bottom line is this: no matter where you live or work, this fight is at your doorstep. We’re thankful to our corporate partners for stepping up and speaking out. All companies committed to gender equity have an obligation to fight for their workers whose futures and freedom are on the line. And workers — from those at the start of their careers to the C-Suite and boardroom — should challenge their employers to join these 50 companies in fighting for their values, freedoms, and right to access to basic health care.”
Statement from Adrienne Kimmell, acting president, NARAL Pro-Choice America:
“This year has seen an unprecedented number of attacks on abortion access, including the cruel Texas ban. In response, Americans are demanding that leaders affirm the mainstream belief that people -- not politicians -- deserve to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Workers are demanding their employers support policies protecting fundamental freedoms. Consumers are demanding businesses stand up for access to abortion care. And now, business leaders are coming together to say #DontBanEquality. With anti-choice attacks escalating not just in Texas but across our country, now is the time for the entire business community to join us.”