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Two of Indiana’s biggest employers said last month that they’d think twice about expanding facilities in the state after the legislature passed a near-total ban on abortion. A new poll shows that, nationwide, the companies are hardly unique.
Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, which has been based in Indiana since 1876 and has headquarters in Indianapolis, said it would be “forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.” Columbus, Indiana-based engine maker Cummins said it was “deeply concerned about how this law impacts our people and impedes our ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce in Indiana” and would take that into account when making location decisions. The companies each employ about 10,000 people in the state.
One in five manufacturing CEOs in the U.S. agree with them. They say they’ve changed their strategy on where to locate company facilities based on restrictive state abortion laws following the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a Forbes poll powered by Zogby.
The survey of 150 manufacturing executives polled in late August found that 19% of their firms had been influenced by new abortion laws to change plans. Of those, roughly one-third (34.5%) had relocated an existing facility, another one-third (34.5%) chose to go with one state over another for a new facility, and nearly another third (31%) were currently discussing how their strategy would change.
Have you changed your location strategy given the Supreme Court ruling on abortion and changes to state policies?
Poll takers asked respondents to comment on the issue anonymously, and one of the executives noted that their company was steering clear of anti-abortion states as locations for their facilities. “We have looked into buying warehouses in states that restrict women’s choice and we have turned them all down,” the CEO said. “We will not perform operations in states with Republican governors.”
In the poll, 75% of all executives said that their employee health coverage currently covered abortion or they were considering changing it so that it would. That includes nearly one-third (31%) who said their coverage includes abortion across state lines, nearly one quarter (23%) that include in-state only, and nearly one quarter (22%) that are considering making changes. Only one quarter (25%) said they didn’t cover abortion.
In the anonymous comments, some noted that because of their location—California, for example—the national discussion around abortion had not affected them. Others, however, vowed to make changes in light of the new restrictions on women’s healthcare. “We plan to pay for transportation,” said one. “We will increase their benefits,” said another. “Our organization is planning to expand women’s coverage,” said a third respondent, adding that their company would provide extended paid time off and logistics help for women seeking abortions.
Among the minority of respondents who said that they didn’t cover abortion and had no plans to do so, some noted they felt it wasn’t necessary or that it went against their values. “We have not taken any steps in this area yet. We only have a couple of women that work here,” said one. “We are a conservative Christian company so we are leaving our insurance the same,” said another.
The poll, by Forbes and veteran polling firm John Zogby Strategies, aimed to measure to what extent businesses were making changes to their operations in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling and subsequent state restrictions on abortion. While there has been a lot of speculation about what businesses might do, the poll aimed to gauge what they’re actually doing.