More than 180 chief executive officers signed an open letter opposing states' efforts to restrict reproductive rights.
From Square CEO and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey to fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg, the executives wrote that restrictions on abortion access threaten the economic stability of their employees and customers, and make it harder to build a diverse workforce and recruit talent.
The letter appeared Monday as a full-page ad in The New York Times. It marked the business community's latest foray into a polarizing societal issue. The CEOs join Bloomberg, Atlantic Records, Yelp and Warby Parker in aligning themselves with such national organizations as Planned Parenthood; NARAL Pro-Choice America, formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League; the American Civil Liberties Union; and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The move also comes nearly four weeks after Alabama signed off on the nation's most restrictive abortion law. Other states, including Georgia, have adopted similar laws.
"As anti-choice politicians are escalating attacks on these fundamental freedoms, we encourage the entire business community to join us in protecting access to reproductive health care in the critical months and years to come," Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement.
Georgia's law, signed last month by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which typically occurs near the six-week mark and before many women even know they are pregnant. Alabama banned virtually all abortions in the state, including for victims of rape and incest. Abortion opponents expect the laws will ignite a broader, state-by-state strategy to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to take a new look at Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country.
Several industries have moved to exert pressure on states that limit access to abortion. Some of the biggest names in Hollywood -- including Walt Disney and WarnerMedia -- have suggested they might pull their business from Georgia if its new law survives court challenge. Filmmaking is a $9.5 billion industry in Georgia that created more than 90,000 jobs last year, according to a McKinsey study.
But even among the law's staunch objectors, there isn't a clear consensus on how companies should respond. Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost Georgia's gubernatorial race last year, is urging Hollywood to keep its business in the state, saying a boycott would only strip working-class people of their jobs with no guarantee it would reverse the new law.
Instead, Abrams and other business leaders are launching a "#StayAndFight" campaign encouraging Hollywood powerhouses to put their money behind political groups challenging Georgia's law. Film industry workers are also organizing against any potential boycott and are raising money for a challenge to the law by the ACLU.
Business on 06/11/2019
Print Headline: CEOs sign letter opposing states' abortion restrictions