If they didn’t weigh in quickly after a draught ruling was leaked in May, businesses in the United States had more than a month to devise a reaction to the end of federal abortion rights in the country.
On Friday, however, when the final judgement in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was announced, a surprisingly small number of people had anything to say about the verdict.
The vast majority of businesses, even ones that are well recognised for their outspokenness on social causes like Black Lives Matter and L.G.B.T.Q. rights, remained mute. Some of the companies who have blackened out their Instagram profiles for the year 2020 or posted rainbow flags on their websites for Pride Month have, up to this point, refrained from commenting on the topic of abortion.
Dave Fleet, the head of global digital crisis at the consultancy company Edelman, stated that executives are experiencing some fear around this topic. “Executives are feeling some trepidation about this,” They are worried about the potential for blowback since they are aware that there is no way to make everyone happy.
The majority of companies who did decide to issue public remarks on Friday addressed the issue of how the judgement of the Supreme Court will have an impact on the availability of health care for their employees. In several instances, they completely sidestepped the term “abortion,” perhaps in an effort to provide a more acceptable explanation.
Warner Bros., Condé Nast, BuzzFeed, Vox Media, Goldman Sachs, Snap, Macy’s, Intuit, and Dick’s Sporting Goods are some of the other corporations who came out on Friday to declare that they would pay employee travel fees for abortions. Other companies that came forward include Intuit and Macy’s. They became a member of a group that included companies such as Starbucks, Tesla, Yelp, Airbnb, Netflix, Patagonia, DoorDash, JPMorgan Chase, Levi Strauss & Co., PayPal, OKCupid, Citigroup, Kroger, Google, Microsoft, Paramount, Nike, Chobani, Lyft, and Reddit, all of which had previously implemented policies that were comparable to this one.
A number of the firms involved issued remarks with those revised policies. The judgement was seen as “a shattering blow to reproductive rights” by Roger Lynch, the chief executive officer of Condé Nast. According to Lyft, “millions of women” would suffer as a result of the verdict. The chief executive officer of BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti, referred to it as “regressive and horrible.”
After the ruling was handed down by the Supreme Court, numerous businesses who had previously taken a stance on social problems such as racism either did not reply to requests for comment or refused to comment. These businesses include Target, Walmart, Coca-Cola, Delta, and Wendy’s. In 2014, Hobby Lobby successfully challenged in front of the Supreme Court whether employer-provided health care required to offer contraception. The company has chosen not to comment on the Dobbs ruling.
Over the course of the last several years, there has been a steadily rising expectation that businesses will have opinions on many political and social topics. Forrester, a consumer research company, found that over the course of the previous year, there was an increase in the proportion of adult Internet users in the United States who believed that businesses owe it to themselves and their stakeholders to take part in discussions and debates pertaining to topical issues. According to research conducted by Sprout Social, this expectation is even more strong among younger users of social media. [Citation needed]
After the killing of George Floyd by police officers in the year 2020, public corporations and their foundations pledged more than $49 billion to the cause of eliminating racial disparity. After the Georgia legislature, which is controlled by Republicans, passed a law in 2017 that restricted voter access, several chief executives, such as those from Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, voiced their opposition to the law. Additionally, 72 Black business leaders published a letter in which they urged corporate leaders to “publicly oppose any discriminatory legislation.”
When it comes to the issue of abortion, public opinion is a little bit different. Forrester found that fewer respondents agreed that firms should take a stand on the issue of abortion. Although previous polls have shown that the majority of Americans agree that abortion should be permitted in all or the majority of circumstances, a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center indicated that people’s perspectives on the topic of morality are quite diverse. Businesses are afraid of the negative public reaction that may result from taking a stand on the subject.