Almost 200 CEOs have signed an open letter opposing any restrictions to reproductive healthcare, especially abortion. The letter was published in a full-page ad in The New York Times with the headline: ran a full-page ad in The New York Times with the headline: Don’t Ban Equality.
This comes at a time when Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, and Missouri have all taken up legislation that threatens to ban abortions entirely and punish doctors who perform them.
- From Bloomberg to Slack, why are CEOs opposing restrictions to reproductive healthcare?
- If you were one of the CEOs and had major operations or events planned in a state with aggressive reproductive health restrictions, what tangible actions, if any would you take?
- What conversations about abortion and reproductive rights should CEOs facilitate within their companies?
- After Georgia passed a law banning most abortions after six weeks, film director Spike Lee called for Hollywood production companies to “shut it down” and boycott the state.
- In May, only seven CEOs, all women, ran a full-page ad in The New York Times affirming abortion as a human and constitutional right and asking for leaders to say as much. “For too long, corporate America has been largely silent on speaking up for sexual and reproductive health and rights,” the letter read. “That must change.”
- According to the Motion Picture Association of America, Georgia’s film and television industry created more than 92,100 jobs and generated nearly $4.6 billion in wages. Hollywood studios are now threatening a boycott after the passing of a law that would ban abortions after six weeks.
Many of the executives come from companies with a focus on female consumers like Eileen Fisher, H&M, and Lush Cosmetics, but not all. Among the signatories are Jack Dorsey from Square, Ari Emanuel from Endeavor, Stewart Butterfield from Slack, and Eric S. Yuan from Zoom.
The alliance is a result of a behind-the-scenes effort from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, The American Civil Liberties Union, and Center for Reproductive Rights, and comes at a time when the nation is increasingly divided state-by-state on the issue of abortion access.
Georgia is a hub for TV and movie production because of the state’s generous tax credits. In recent years, Georgia has served as a location for blockbuster movies (Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther, Hunger Games) and popular TV shows (The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Queer Eye).
According to Judd Legum at Popular Information, these same studios have bankrolled the politicians most responsible for the abortion ban in Georgia. The studios have also financially supported politicians responsible for a nearly identical abortion ban in Louisiana, another hub for TV and movie production, that was signed into law recently.
It’s not that the studios themselves actively support restrictions on abortion. It’s that their views on women’s rights were subordinated to their desire for lucrative tax breaks.
Now Netflix, Disney, WarnerMedia, AMC Networks, NBCUniversal and CBS Corp, and its Showtime subsidiary have all threatened to pull their business from Georgia and fear is gripping the state’s film production industry, now bigger than California’s, according to Film LA.