The new abortion law in Texas is dragging the business community, causing some companies to directly interfere with the controversial enforcement mechanism and pressuring others to publicly denounce the measure.
Texas-based dating platforms Match and Bumble set up aid funds to help people affected by the law, while Uber and Lyft attraction platforms denied the status and said they would cover all legal costs of any of its drivers sued for driving a client to an abortion clinic.
“This law is inconsistent with the basic rights to privacy of people, our community guidelines, the spirit of car sharing and our values as a company,” Lyft wrote in a message to drivers, adding that will also donate $ 1 million to Planned Parenthood.
Other companies are taking steps to thwart private law enforcement.
Web hosting company GoDaddy withdrew an abortion monitoring website that was launched to help enforce the six-week abortion ban, saying it violated the company’s terms and conditions. Anti-abortion activists moved the site to another web hosting company, Epik, which also closed it immediately.
Texas law, considered the most restrictive in the country, prohibits abortion for six weeks before most women know they are pregnant. Under the law, people can sue anyone who provides or “helps or incites” an abortion after six weeks for up to $ 10,000 plus legal fees, a provision that has sparked widespread criticism, including from Republican lawmakers.
However, as of Tuesday afternoon, only a handful of companies have spoken out against the law. Corporate America has kept its majority silent, despite its vocal opposition to Texas’ restrictive voting law that was signed Tuesday by Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
“It’s not surprising because this is harder than other issues,” said Sandra Sucher, a professor of management at Harvard Business School. “Abortion is particularly controversial because we know it relates to people’s religious views, which is a kind of forbidden area for businesses.”
Some major companies with a lot of workforce in Texas, including American Airlines, Dell Technologies, AT&T, Google, and Amazon, have not made public comments about the abortion law after protesting against the vote bill. These companies criticized the GOP-supported voting bill, which Dell CEO Michael Dell criticized as undemocratic.
Houston-based Hewlett Packard Enterprise did not address the issue of abortion in a statement to reporters, saying only that “it encourages members of our team to participate in the political process where they live and work and make their voices heard. through the defense and the voting booth “.
Amid pressure from employees, investors, and customers, the corporate United States has delved deeper into issues of social justice in recent years. But corporations have stayed away from abortion, even when they got into other political battles.
“We’re looking at the limits of how far companies are willing to go to express some sort of point of view,” said Douglas Chia, a corporate governance consultant. “This issue has been a lightning rod for decades and evokes such an emotional response. Some issues are too sensitive to comment on. “
Corporate governance experts said companies are waiting to see what others in their industry do and how public opinion is formed around Texas law.
They are overseeing new developments, such as the attorney general Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandHillicon Valley: Howard University Attacked by Ransomware Attack Texas Abortion Law Destroys Businesses DOJ Prepares New Google Antitrust CaseMonday’s statement that the Justice Department will protect women seeking abortions in Texas from possible violence.
“I think figuring out if this has become politically dangerous enough for them not to say something is the calculation they are trying to make,” Sucher said.
Abortion rights activists have called on businesses and the general public to boycott Texas by abortion law. Portland, Oregon City Council will consider banning trade in goods and services with Texas.
In some industries, praising the anti-abortion law is much riskier than condemning it. John Gibson, the CEO of video game developer TripWire, resigned Monday after tweeting he was “proud” of the Supreme Court to uphold the law. His tweet provoked an intense reaction from the video game community, including his own co-workers.
Public opinion polls on abortion show varying results depending on the wording of the questions.
Gallup published a poll in June showing that 58% of Americans do not want the Supreme Court to overturn the milestone of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision protecting the right to abortion. Only 19% of respondents said abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.
However, Gallup also found that 47 percent of Americans consider themselves “pro-life,” compared to 49 percent who are “pro-choice,” a significantly smaller margin.
Corporate America usually supports measures with clearer support. However, it is not clear what difference their statements could make. The influence of companies with Republicans has waned as the two forces drift apart on issues of social justice.
Governor of Georgia Brian KempBrian KempTexas, abortion law sweeps companies Alyssa Milano expels “Taliban from Texas” over new abortion law. (R) signed legislation to tighten voting restrictions and take control of the local election administration despite the outcry of large corporations. The state’s largest employer, Delta Air Lines, deemed the bill “unacceptable” and MLB moved its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest.
More than 150 companies that together employ 4 million workers, including Target, PepsiCo and Google, urged Congress to approve the John LewisJohn Lewis: Texas abortion law sweeps businesses White House says ball is in Congressional court over voting rights, and HR 4 abortion advances Congressman John Lewis’ legacy MORE Law on the advancement of voting rights. The vote passed the House with zero votes from the Republican Party.
Large corporations unsuccessfully pushed Republicans to support a popular measure to provide a path to undocumented immigrant citizenship. The Equality Act, a bill to codify protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people, also has the support of corporate America, but gained little support from Republican lawmakers.