In Texas, a group of businesses is voicing concerns over the state’s stringent abortion laws, arguing that these regulations are complicating their recruitment efforts and making the state less attractive for potential employees. This reaction comes in the wake of the near-total abortion ban enacted by the state’s Republican-led legislature.
An amicus brief, spearheaded by Reed Smith law firm and endorsed by 40 Texas companies, has been filed in support of 22 women suing the state over its abortion laws. This group includes notable names like Bumble and Match Group, which owns Match.com and Tinder, as well as prominent advertising agencies, event organizers, and the United States Women’s Chamber of Commerce, among others.
These companies assert that the restrictive abortion laws in Texas are deterring families from considering relocation to the state, as they seek environments more conducive to starting and raising a family. The Texas Legislature’s 2021 trigger law on abortion, which prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected (typically around six weeks, often before a woman realizes she’s pregnant), unless the mother’s life is in significant danger, has been a key point of contention. The overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court in 2022 further empowered states to limit abortion access.
As a result of these laws, individuals in Texas seeking abortion services must now consider traveling out of state, looking beyond U.S. borders, resorting to illegal methods, or carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. It’s important to note that birth control and emergency contraceptives like Plan B remain legally accessible, as they are different from abortion-inducing medications.
The issue of abortion access has gained significant traction among voters following the end of Roe vs. Wade. Polls indicate a majority support for abortion rights in most states, regardless of political leaning, and recent state-level elections have shown strong voter support for maintaining access to abortion. For instance, anti-abortion measures were rejected in Kentucky and Montana during the November 2022 midterms.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder and CEO of Bumble, emphasized the company’s commitment to reproductive health care access and the need to speak out against the regression of women’s rights. She highlighted the confusion and increased business costs caused by Texas’s medical exceptions, which are driving away talent and threatening workforce diversity and well-being.
Research cited in Bumble’s filing shows that nearly half of young women in nine key states are considering or actively planning to move to states with more comprehensive reproductive health care protections. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of college-educated workers nationwide are reluctant to consider employment in states with abortion restrictions.
A 2022 study by The Institute for Women’s Policy Research suggested that removing state-level abortion restrictions could lead to an annual increase of $101.8 billion in earnings for employed women aged 15 to 44 across the U.S.
Despite these concerns, Texas Governor Greg Abbott praised the state’s economic growth, which has outpaced the national average for four consecutive quarters. He attributed this success to the hard work of Texans and the state’s commitment to freedom and opportunity.
Newsweek reached out to Governor Abbott for comment but had not received a response at the time of the article’s publication.