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Abortion ruling drives companies into a place of division

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Anne D'innocenzio And Haleluya Hadero

The Supreme Court's decision to end the country's constitutional protection against the Associated Press is the most disruptive of politics for companies of all kinds. I drove it to a typical corner. ..

Last month, some companies that remained silent when Judge Samuel Alito's draft opinion was leaked to Politico, including the Walt Disney Company, made their first statement on Friday. From the state to get an abortion.

Facebook parents Meta, American Express, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs have said they will pay for their employees' travel expenses, and other companies such as Apple, Starbucks, Lyft and Yelp have taken similar steps. I repeated the previous announcement. Outdoor clothing maker Patagonia posted on LinkedIn on Friday, offering "training and bail for those who peacefully protest reproductive justice," and providing a vacation to vote.

However, of the dozens of big companies the Associated Press contacted on Friday, many of them, such as McDonald's, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Tyson, and Marriott, did not respond. .. Arkansas-based Wal-Mart was also the country's largest employer with the majority of stores in the state that enforced abortion bans shortly after Friday's Supreme Court ruling, and remained silent.

Meanwhile, the Business Roundtable, an organization that represents some of the most powerful companies in the United States, said, "We have no position on the merits of this proceeding."

Many companies are at stake, many pledged to promote women's equality and progress in the workplace. For people in states with restricted abortion laws, they can now face the major challenge of attracting college-educated workers who can easily move around.

Luis von Ahn, CEO of the language app Duolingo, sent a tweet to Pennsylvania lawmakers on Friday. You can't attract talent and you need to expand your office elsewhere.

The technology boom in places like Austin, Texas is struggling to hire companies like Dell that are already flexible in remote work due to the tight labor market. Therefore, the decision to ban Austin and future patchwork are also threatening. Stephen Pedigo, a professor of economic development at the University of Texas at Austin, said he has welcomed new technology graduates to the corporate hub.

"Would you like to go to New York, Seattle, or the Bay Area instead of staying in Austin? I think that's a real possibility," Pedigo said. "It's much harder, especially if you're looking at the young, progressive workforce that tends to be technology workers."

Emily M. Dickens, staff chief and head of government affairs, said in a recent study that nearly a quarter of the organization agreed to provide medical savings. Reproduction in another state. Accounts to cover travel for medical care enhance their ability to compete for talent. However, it is unclear how these policies interact with state law, and employers need to be aware of the “related legal risks”.

Dickens said that companies that process claims using third-party managers (usually large companies) are subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, not state law. However, companies that have to purchase their own health insurance for their employees (usually small businesses) are subject to state regulation and are less flexible in designing benefits.

Companies may also be targeted by anti-abortion lawmakers if they offer to cover their travel expenses. In March, Republican State Representative Briscoe Cain said he would propose a law prohibiting local governments in the state from doing business with companies that provide travel benefits to employees seeking abortion, and eliminated them from Citigroup. I sent a letter of action.

In his consensus released Friday, Judge Brett Kavanaugh said it was unconstitutional for the state to ban residents from traveling to another state to have an abortion. Suggested.

"In my view, the answer is not based on the constitutional right to interstate highways," Kavanaugh wrote.

However, Teresa Collet, a law professor at St. Thomas University, argues that the right of companies to fund what is illegal in another state remains questionable.

"It's not an interstate commerce issue in itself," she said. "Therefore, we need a proper plaintiff."

Meanwhile, tech companies face tough questions about what to do if some of the millions of US customers are charged with abortion. I have. Services such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft regularly deliver the digital data required by law enforcement agencies conducting criminal investigations. This has raised concerns from privacy advocates about the use of abortion law enforcers' access to apps, phone location data and other sensitive online health information during the period.

A Friday letter from four members of Congress called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google and Apple's phone tracking practices, with the location identifier used in the ad being a prosecutor and a prize. Warned that it could be in the hands of earners "to hunt down women who have acquired or are seeking an abortion."

The Supreme Court ruling said This happens when companies become increasingly dependent on women to get their jobs done, especially when faced with a national labor shortage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women now make up almost 50% of the US workforce, a dramatic increase from 37.5% in 1970.

Denying access to abortion can have the greatest impact on low-income workers. This is because they are usually engaged in less protected work and are demanding, from loading groceries on store shelves to working as health assistants.

"As a direct result of this ruling, more women will be forced to choose between paying rent or traveling long distances to receive safe abortion care." Said Mary Kay Henry, International Chairman of the Service Employees International Union. Represents approximately 2 million caretakers, healthcare professionals and teachers in the United States. "Working women are already suffering from poor wage work without paid leave, and many are responsible for family care. Usually unpaid."

Room Saranelson, chairman of the Crew Association, told AP news agency that the ruling was "catastrophic."

"It's at the heart of all the work our union has done for 75 years," she said. "This decision is not about whether someone supports abortion. It's a distraction ... it's about whether we respect women's rights to determine their future."

Maurice Schweitzer, a professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, said a small number of companies were in favor of the court's ruling because customers and employees expected to speak.

"We are at this moment when we expect corporate leaders to be political leaders as well," he said. "Many employees expect not only to reward them well, but also to work for a company whose values ​​are in line with their values."

However, he said, the majority of executives are likely to avoid nasty topics and focus on things like inflation and supply chain disruptions.

This also comes with risks.

"They cannot support the wrath of travel and local politicians for out-of-state care and risk proceedings, or endanger the wrath of employees, including this report." Said Schweizer.


Matt O'Brien, AP Business Writer, Providence, Rhode Island. Detroit's Dee Underbin; San Francisco's Barbara Ortutay; Dallas' David Koenig and New York's Ken Sweet contributed to the story.