Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and leaders from over 180 companies have signed a letter stating that laws restricting abortion are “bad for business.” Meanwhile, over three dozen state prosecutors are vowing to not enforce laws that restrict access to abortion.
Dorsey was among the many names of company heads that appeared on a letter published in Monday’s edition of The New York Times that proclaimed that “It's time for companies to stand up for reproductive healthcare.”
Although he is known more widely as Twitter’s CEO, Dorsey signed the letter on behalf of his mobile payment company Square. The letter was also signed by chief executives from major companies such as Slack, Ben and Jerry’s, Tinder, H&M, Kenneth Cole and Yelp.
“Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers,” the letter reads. “Simply put, it goes against our values and is bad for business.”
The letter titled “Don’t Ban Equality” appears to be in response to several abortion bans passed in states such as Alabama, Missouri and Georgia. Many believe such laws are part of a conservative attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 landmark abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade.
The companies argued that such restrictions impair their “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.”
An estimated total of 108,000 workers are employed by the companies that participated in the letter.
“The future of gender equality hangs in the balance, putting our families, communities, businesses and the economy at risk,” the letter claims.
The letter drew the ire of pro-life activists on Twitter.
“How is protecting the inherent dignity of the human person from the moment of conception ‘bad for business’?” asked March for Life President Jeanne Mancini in a tweet. “Perhaps the better question is what is the ‘value’ of human life to these business leaders?”
Lila Rose, who heads the pro-life activist organization Live Action, questioned why it would be “better for business” to “kill off future generations of customers.”
“Murdering a child in the womb isn't, has never been, and will never be, ‘healthcare,’” she stressed.
Rose also sees a connection between Dorsey’s signing of the letter and Twitter’s censorship of pro-life advertisements.
“It's no secret that @jack is radically pro-abortion & suppresses pro-life content While saying they don't censor content ‘with regards to political viewpoint,’” Lila Rose, head of the pro-life activist group Live Action, wrote in a tweet. “@Twitter has banned @LiveAction & me from all pro-life ads. Pro-abortion feeds freely run ads.”
"170 CEOs sign letter calling abortion a 'human right' & condemning laws passed by democratically elected U.S. legislatures," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote in a tweet. "Ironically they have no problem doing business with serial human rights violating authoritarians all over the world."
Recently, a number of companies have similarly threatened to leave Georgia over its recently passed abortion ban after six weeks of pregnancy.
The “Don’t Ban Equality” letter comes as 42 prosecutors across 23 states signed a joint statement earlier this month vowing not to prosecute people who violate recently passed state bans on abortion.
While Alabama law essentially makes all cases of abortion illegal except when the mother’s life is in danger, other states have passed restrictions on abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
“Legal precedent, as established by the highest court in the land, has held for nearly 50 years that women have a right to make decisions about their own medical care including, but not limited to, seeking an abortion,” the joint statement reads. “Enforcement of laws that criminalize healthcare decisions would shatter that precedent, impose untenable choices on victims and healthcare providers, and erode trust in the integrity of our justice system.”
“To fulfill our obligations as prosecutors and ministers of justice to preserve the integrity of the system and keep our communities safe and healthy, it is imperative that we use our discretion to decline to prosecute personal healthcare choices criminalized under such laws,” it added.
The statement was signed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. It was also signed by attorneys generals from Maryland, Nevada, Vermont, Massachusetts, Delaware, Michigan, Oregon, Illinois, District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.
The statement was largely signed by prosecutors from left-leaning states in which abortion law is not in jeopardy. However, the letter was signed by a handful of district attorneys from states that have recently passed abortion restrictions such as Alabama, Georgia and Ohio.
“Resources in our criminal justice system are inherently limited. We believe that the wise use of discretion requires balancing these limited resources while meeting the safety needs of our communities,” the joint statement continues. “In our view, resources are better utilized to prevent and address serious crimes that impact our community rather than enforcing laws such as these that divide our community, create untenable choices for women and healthcare providers, and erode trust in the justice system.”
Although the prosecutors suggest that resources are “limited,” Beccera has found no trouble using state resources to criminally prosecute pro-life investigator David Daleiden and his associate Sandra Merritt for obtaining undercover videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood official’s willingness to break laws surrounding fetal tissue procurement.
The videos were the topic of much media attention when they were released in 2015 and put Planned Parenthood on the defensive. The nation’s largest abortion provider responded by claiming that Daleiden and Merritt’s videos were deceptively edited. But a federal appeals court stated earlier this year that the videos were deemed “authentic.”
The state of California under Beccera has charged Delaiden and Merritt with 15 felonies charges for using fake identities and a fictitious bio-research company to get access and covertly record conversations with Planned Parenthood executives.
Daleiden has accused the state prosecutors of being “political cronies” for Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, the attorney for Merritt has called the prosecution "selective and discriminatory."