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Corporations claim protecting the unborn is “bad for business”

Activists call on big business to promote abortion in a post-Dobbs world

The Yelp logo appears on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Getty Images/Photo by Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Corporations claim protecting the unborn is “bad for business”

While social liberals have failed to implement their agenda through the democratic process, they increasingly use big business to get it done. Yelp is the latest activist corporation taking sides in the abortion debate, quick on the heels of Citigroup. Yelp now offers an expanded “reproductive healthcare” policy similar to the one offered by Citigroup to its employees. The policy provides travel and lodging benefits for employees seeking abortions across state lines. Both policies were created to circumvent the Texas heartbeat law, which protects unborn babies in the Lone Star State from abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. (Iowa passed a similar law in March.) But the worst thing about the Yelp and Citigroup initiatives is that they are using your money to do it.

Yelp and Citigroup are public corporations whose stock is bought and sold on the New York Stock Exchange. If you own any equity investments, like in a retirement fund, then odds are these public companies (or others like them) are using your money to advocate for abortion policies you oppose. And these aren’t the only public corporations using your dollars to sway the democratic process in favor of abortion. Other companies have joined the chorus denouncing any restrictions whatsoever on killing the unborn.

Yelp now adds its name to a list of more than 50 companies publicly lobbying against the Texas law, with Citigroup, Lyft, Ben & Jerry’s, and Reddit counted among them. In 2019, more than 200 corporations, including tech giants such as Zoom, Square, and GoFundMe, signed a similar statement advocating for “reproductive healthcare,” asserting that restrictions on abortion (aka protections for the unborn) are bad for the economy and “bad for business.”

Big business plays an outsized role in shaping the national agenda through corporate policies, economic threats, and lobbying efforts. But corporate bullying through various companies is not coincidental—it’s a coordinated effort led by none other than Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, among others. This pro-abortion coalition puts public companies on the spot, demanding to know which side they are on in the abortion debate and which subset of their shareholders and customers they will side with. Consistently, companies are siding against a majority of their customers and shareholders who are pro-life (or, at the very least, are in favor of letting Americans make decisions for themselves on controversial issues at the voting booth).

Companies are siding against a majority of their customers and shareholders who are pro-life

All of this is a foretaste of what a post-Dobbs world will look like: public corporations using money from their public shareholdings to sway the democratic process in their favor. If the Supreme Court overturns or weakens Roe in its upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health ruling, pro-abortion activists will begin lobbying state lawmakers. CEOs will use their considerable influence on governors, attorneys general, legislators, the media, and voters to sway states’ abortion laws. The Supreme Court could overturn nearly 50 years of precedent abetting the slaughter of unborn babies. Still, big business will use all of its resources, which often dwarf those of some nations, to fight for unrestricted abortion.

Pro-abortion coalitions like the one led by Planned Parenthood claim that companies who remain neutral on abortion not only hurt their female employees but all women. It bears repeating: Abortion is not healthcare. As we’ve seen with Yelp’s new policy, it’s easier and more cost-efficient—and more beneficial to Planned Parenthood’s bottom line—to encourage abortion. It’s easier than expanding paid family leave or other policies that allow employees to make a real choice, like the choice to have a family.

Want to help women? Offer paid maternity and paternity leave, giving them the time and space they need to heal and adjust to life with a new baby. Pro-life, pro-family policies are proven not only to decrease abortion but encourage marriage, increase fertility rates, decrease debt, and more. There’s so much more to the story than Planned Parenthood and friends would have corporate America believe.

Controversial issues in America should be left to the American public to decide, free of fear, coercion, or cancellation by public corporations. Sadly, activist corporations using shareholder dollars threaten to undercut the democratic process, leaving a path of death and division in their wake. Keep that in mind as you go shopping … or investing.

Katelyn Walls Shelton

Katelyn Walls Shelton is a Bioethics Fellow at the Paul Ramsey Institute. She is a women’s health policy consultant who previously worked to promote the well-being of women and the unborn at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She graduated from Yale Divinity School and Union University and lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, John, and their three children.


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