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187 companies criticize state abortion bans in New York Times ad

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One hundred and eighty-seven companies have denounced states’ restrictions on abortion services and reproductive healthcare, saying that such laws are “bad for business” and would make it difficult for them to protect their employees.

Banks, tech firms, media companies, and fashion brands jointly signed a full-page ad in The New York Times, published Monday, that said: “Equality in the workplace is one of the most important business issues of our time.”

Signatories on the open letter — titled “Don’t Ban Equality” — included Bloomberg, Ben & Jerry’s, Postmates, H&M, Yelp, Atlantic Records & Warner Media Group, Tinder, and Slack.

“Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers,” the companies said in the letter, adding they employ more than 108,000 workers.

“Simply put, it goes against our values and is bad for business,” they said. “It impairs our ability to build diverse and inclusive workforce pipelines, recruit top talent across the states, and protect the well-being of all the people who keep our businesses thriving day in and out.”

Executives from MAC Cosmetics, Okta, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, and Amalgamated Bank were also among the signatories. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also signed the letter, though he did so under Square, his mobile payment company.

Read more:Abortion bans are popping up all around the US. Here are the states that have passed new laws to challenge Roe v. Wade in 2019.

A PDF of the full letter, as it appeared in The New York Times, is on the “Don’t Ban Equality” website, which includes information about new laws that restrict abortion access, and allows more companies to sign the letter.

The US has experienced a surge in abortion bans, with lawmakers in a number of states voting to introduce more restrictive laws, which have faced intense backlash. The ad does not identify any states.

In April and May, Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Missouri, and Alabama signed some of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country into law, though they all face court challenges and are yet to go into effect.

The strictest law is in Alabama, where abortion would be completely banned and doctors could face jail time over the procedure, while other states have moved to ban abortion with “heartbeat” bills that would ban abortion after around five or six weeks of pregnancy.

Read more: Alabama’s new anti-abortion law compares abortion to the Holocaust and other genocides

Abortion-rights supporters take part in a protest on May 30, 2019, in St. Louis, MIssouri.
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Monday’s letter said: “The future of equality hangs in the balance, putting our families, communities, businesses, and the economy at risk.”

Read more: People are calling for boycotts of Georgia and Alabama over anti-abortion bills, and Hollywood stars are threatening to pull their projects from the states

The companies were brought together by a campaign led by the pro-choice groups Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Center for Reproductive Rights.

These groups say they “will continue to work together to provide opportunities for businesses and business leaders to help protect reproductive healthcare in the critical months and years to come.”

Alabama’s legislature is overwhelmingly male and just passed a bill that effectively bans abortions.
Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters

These companies join a growing list of companies that have signaled their unhappiness with harsher abortion laws.

Disney, Netflix, and AMC are among the entertainment companies that say they may reconsider making movies and TV shows in Georgia if its law — that would ban abortion once a doctor can detect a heartbeat — goes into effect.

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