An ominous development in American politics is the explicit marriage of abortion advocacy to corporate interests, as the progressive movement and its pro-abortion base have grown increasingly strident and extreme.
In the Dobbs era, there seems to be a competition over which company can be the most pro-abortion. Scores of CEOs are practically tripping over one another to announce that they will pay travel expenses for employees who get an out-of-state abortion.
Pro-abortion advocates claim that allowing the people to have a say about protecting unborn children and their pregnant mothers written into law — saving potentially millions of lives — is ‘highly destabilizing for businesses.’
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Pressure is mounting to include provisions that promote abortion within a company’s ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ (ESG) policies. ESG analyzes companies and assigns a score, based on social and political policies that have nothing to do with core business activities. Under this mantle, extreme policies have quietly been adopted by the largest fund managers in America, including BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard.
Abortion on demand until birth, imposed by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, has long been a gift to companies looking for an excuse not to implement or prioritize family-friendly policies. So it’s no surprise many of the same companies that eagerly cover abortion-related expenses mistreat their employees, particularly women — discriminating against pregnant workers and exposing female employees to unsafe working conditions.
Amazon, for example, announced in May that it would pay up to $4,000 each year to cover abortion-related travel. Yet that same month, the State of New York filed a complaint against Amazon for reportedly forcing pregnant workers to take unpaid leave rather than providing them with accommodations. In 2019, it came to light that at least seven workers had sued the company after they were denied accommodations and fired when they became pregnant. According to the report, their request ‘included longer bathroom breaks and fewer continuous hours on their feet.’ In every case, workers were fired after informing their managers they were pregnant.
In Oklahoma, an Amazon worker suffered a miscarriage under harsh working conditions after her repeated requests for lighter work duty were denied. Pregnant workers at an Amazon warehouse required medical attention in 2011 as the result of extreme workplace temperatures.
Bank of America has been outspoken in defending Roe as ‘settled law’ and is discussing implementing abortion related benefits. But they have been sued on multiple occasions for discriminating against pregnant employees, including one who was reportedly told by a branch manager to have an abortion.
And mega-‘woke’ Microsoft made a big deal of announcing it will fund abortion travel expenses. However, the company has faced extensive allegations of discrimination against pregnant workers — including an instance where a manager claimed the company didn’t want to ‘waste’ a promotion on a worker in case she got pregnant.
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A truly progressive company would implement policies to support working moms and families —retaining their skill and talent, not treat them as cogs and their children as an inconvenient liability. Yet such instances of deep hypocrisy go on and on, making it clear that too many woke corporate officials are looking out for their bottom line under the cover of ‘women’s rights.’
Pro-life Americans should beware of the danger to countless unborn children and mothers posed by ESG policies. An estimated $35.3 trillion — more than a third of all assets in large markets — fall within ESG investments. With its under-the-radar corrosive power and malleable standards, ESG offers an ideal tool for the abortion lobby to manipulate and exploit, rather than appeal to hearts and minds they are losing at the ballot box, now that unelected Supreme Court justices won’t do their bidding.
They won’t stop there. They will push for more and more companies to be effectively compelled to fund abortion on demand, even brutal and dangerous late-term abortions, in blue states where abortion is legal up to the moment of birth. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink candidly admitted coercive tactics: ‘You have to force behaviors, and at BlackRock we are forcing behaviors.’
There is hope: in June, Walmart shareholders overwhelmingly rejected a proposed audit of ‘risks and costs to the company caused by enacted or proposed state policies severely restricting reproductive rights’ (abortion). The more people are aware of how these funds are being abused to hijack our political process and put a target on babies and moms, the more we can band together to stop it.
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Derek Kreifels is CEO of the State Financial Officers Foundation.