As abortion takes center stage at the Supreme Court, corporate America is (mostly) staying silent

Thursday, May 5, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
American boardrooms can’t hide from abortion politics (Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

American boardrooms can’t hide from abortion politics (Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

History unwritten... Earlier this week, a leaked draft opinion revealed that the Supreme Court appears ready to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that made abortion a constitutional right. Some companies, including Apple and Amazon, are responding by proactively offering financial support for women who need access to reproductive healthcare. But most companies have so far been silent.

  • Fortune magazine reached out to 30 of the biggest US companies for a reaction to the leak, but almost all gave “no comment.”
  • The Chamber of Commerce declined to comment, and the Business Roundtable (think: a group made up of 200+ top CEOs ) did “not have a position.”

Social issues and corporate activism… are becoming increasingly intertwined, including over abortion. Last year Bumble, Yelp, and others helped form the "Don't Ban Equality" coalition following Texas' abortion law banning the procedure after six weeks. But other major recent social issues and movements have spurred companies to respond, too:

  • After a police officer murdered George Floyd in 2020, dozens of leading companies pledged a collective $50B to combat racism and increase diversity in their ranks.
  • Disney recently found itself caught between its employees and Florida’s Republican governor over its stance on the state’s controversial laws for schools regarding LGBTQ rights.

Now abortion looks set to become a bigger boardroom issue… Should Roe be reversed when the court gives its decision next month, companies will face increasing pressure to take a stand on a highly polarizing topic (right before an election season), whether that means issuing public statements or making access to reproductive healthcare a standard corporate benefit. Whatever positions they take, the risk will be ostracizing customers, employees, or states where they do biz.