Thursday, September 16

Texas’ Largest Businesses Silent on State Abortion Ban Despite Outrage | Texas


Despite widespread outrage over a new Texas law that virtually bans abortion in the state, only a handful of major companies have spoken out against the legislation that went into effect Sept. 1.

The law relies on private citizens to carry out the ban by allowing people to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps a woman have an abortion after embryonic heart activity is detected. A divided US Supreme Court refused to block it, allowing it to remain in force while its legality is resolved in lower courts.

Texas’ largest corporate employers, including American Airlines, ExxonMobil, Dell Technologies, Oracle Corporation and Hewlett-Packard Enterprises, all based in the state, have not made public statements about the law.

Texas has some of the most business-friendly tax and regulatory laws in the country, so it’s not surprising that many companies, including Apple, Toyota, and Tesla, have been attracting millions of workers to major Texas cities through of the recent expansion of its operations in the state. .

After the law went into effect, Gov. Greg Abbott said “many” residents and businesses in the state passed the law.

“This is not slowing down the coming of businesses to the state of Texas, but rather it is speeding up the process of businesses coming to Texas … They are leaving the very liberal state of California,” he said. CNBC, a nod to the number of large, high-profile tech companies that have opened offices in Texas in recent years.

In the interview, Abbott said he talks to Tesla CEO Elon Musk “often” and said Musk approves of the state’s social policies. Musk responded quickly Twitter that he believes that “the government should rarely impose its will on the people and, in doing so, should aim to maximize their accumulated happiness.”

“That said, I would rather stay out of politics,” he added.

While it may be easier for companies to steer clear of “politics,” a recent poll has found that the college-educated workforce that major companies hope to attract to Texas will likely stay away from the state because of the law. Nearly 75% of women and 58% of men said the Texas abortion ban would discourage them from taking a job in the state.

“Other states are competing for people,” said Tammi Wallace, executive director of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Bloomberg News. “If you look at what our state is doing, and then you see another state where they aren’t doing some of those things, you could say, ‘Well, money is good, but where do I want to raise my family?”

The silence from large corporations is particularly notable given that companies have begun to speak out about progressive causes such as LGBTQ rights, gender equality, and racism in the last five years.

More recently, hundreds of companies and CEOs signed a statement against restrictive voting laws in April, as the Georgia legislature was passing a series of voting restrictions. The CEOs of American Airlines and Dell were vocally critical of similar voting restrictions that were going up through the Texas legislature.

Companies have also spoken out about other abortion bans in the past. Leaders of more than 180 companies signed a statement in June 2019 that featured a full-page ad in the New York Times criticizing abortion restrictions in light of the bombardment of abortion bans that were being passed in several states.

“Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortions, threatens the health independence and economic stability of our employees and clients,” the statement read. “In short, it goes against our values ​​and is bad for business.”

When Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an abortion ban in May 2019, leaders of major Hollywood studios, including Netflix and Disney, raised concerns about the bill and said they would boycott filming in the state. , which offers lucrative entertainment tax incentives.

“I think a lot of people who work for us will not want to work there,” Bob Iger, then Disney CEO, said at the time. A federal judge eventually blocked the Georgia bill.

Jen Stark, senior director of corporate strategy for the Tara Health Foundation, said the law “really caught companies off guard” and that many companies were trying to find an answer.

In 2019, “there was a much longer runway as multiple states successively passed restrictions and a longer media spotlight,” Stark said.

“There are many, many behind-the-scenes conversations going on with big, well-known brands,” Stark said, adding that the Don’t Ban Equality coalition, which organized the 2019 corporate statement, was working on a statement against the law that We Hope Will companies sign.

One exception to the general silence on Texas law is cloud-based software giant Salesforce, which offers to help relocate employees out of state if they choose. Referring to the “incredibly personal problems” created by the law, a message last week sent to the entire workforce of the company said that any employee and their family who wanted to move to another location would receive assistance.

Bospar, a small California-based public relations firm, also said it will offer $ 10,000 to its six Texas-based employees for relocation out of state because of the abortion ban.

Among the few other companies that have spoken out against the Texas abortion ban are dating app companies Match Group and Bumble, private transportation companies Uber and Lyft, Yelp and Benefit Cosmetics.

The Portland, Oregon City Council is also trying to boycott millions of dollars in goods and services leaving Texas, including the ban on business-related travel to Texas, due to the ban.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick called the boycott “a complete joke” in Twitter and said, “The Texas economy is stronger than ever. We value babies and the police, they don’t.




www.theguardian.com

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