A recent report by NARAL Pro-Choice America (PDF) that surveyed 1,271 full-time workers 25 and older found that 60% would be more loyal to employers who helped provide prenatal, family planning and abortion care. And about two-thirds say it is somewhat important for their company to take a stand on reproductive rights, including abortion. The online survey conducted by The Harris Poll occurred from October 10-16, 2018.
In May, Alabama became the latest of eight Republican-run states that have implemented new anti-abortion bills, The Washington Post reports. The goal of these efforts is to push the issue through the lower courts and ultimately the Supreme Court to challenge the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.
“More than 3 in 5 (63%) agree that companies located in places with limited sex education, access to birth control, or abortion should work with community leaders to improve access to these services,” an NARAL white paper notes (PDF). “A similar proportion (61%) say access to reproductive health care should be a consideration when companies relocate or open new offices.”
Women residing in states that are more progressive when it comes to women’s reproductive rights earn more and encounter less occupational segregation, the NARAL report notes, citing a 2017 Center for American Progress report. Another recent survey by Chief Executive and the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations found that 44% of 210 CEOs said their primary goal for this year is product sales and services. But when asked about speaking out on social issues, about 60% said they would not likely do so this year.
“We’ve been thinking for a long time about why, as businesses were increasingly making their values known to both their customers and their employees, there wasn’t a big effort on issues of women’s reproductive freedom,” NARAL president Ilyse Hogue tells Fast Company. “We knew we had to be able to demonstrate that the values that we know so many of them hold that they had not been vocal about are actually really, really consistent with mainstream and popular opinion in the U.S.”
The NARAL report further finds that 75% of employees believe abortion should be safe and legal, and that includes 41% who oppose abortion on a personal level but who don’t want to see the government tell women that they shouldn't get abortions. “They are values that have to do with women’s access to reproductive healthcare but also values that extend to what the government’s role in personal decision making is,” Hogue says. “The cultural narrative has been sort of misinformed in thinking that this is a very divisive issue, and what’s important for companies to understand is that’s not in fact true.”
The Trump Administration has done its part to stifle family planning services, including abortion. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a final rule to forbid Title X funds to groups providing such services, Crain’s New York Business reports. The Title X program hands out about $290 million in funds and helps about four million low-income people annually.