June 11, 2019
More than 180 CEOs from a who’s who of U.S. and global consumer-facing companies have signed a letter opposing laws and regulations that restrict women’s reproductive healthcare, including abortion, CNBC reports.
Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, Glossier CEO Emily Weiss, fashion designers Rebecca Minkoff, Eileen Fisher, and Diane Von Furstenburg; and the chief executives of companies including Yelp, Warby Parker, Ben & Jerry’s, Birchbox, United Technologies, Amalgamated Bank, Atlantic Records, and The Body Shop, say they signed the letter to send a clear message that restricting access to reproductive care, including abortion, is “against our values, and is bad for business.”
Such legislation, they say in the ad, inhibits “our 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 day out.”
The letter appeared yesterday as a full-page ad in The New York Times under the heading “Don’t Ban Equality”— and comes less than a month after Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed the most restrictive abortion legislation ever in the United States— banning doctors from performing abortion at any stage of pregnancy, punishable by 99 years in prison. The law includes no exceptions—period—even for cases of rape or incest.
Several other states— including Georgia, Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri—have adopted similar laws this year, CNBC noted.
Andrea Blieden, U.S. general manager of The Body Shop told CNBC Make It that “access to reproductive healthcare is recognized as a human right” and says the letter emphasizes the company’s outlook that it is essential U.S. law to “respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of women.”
“We believe that a woman’s ability to access reproductive health care is critical to her autonomy, economic success, physical and mental health and general empowerment in the workplace,” said Blieden. “As a brand that stands for equality and women’s empowerment, we believe it’s important that we take a stand and join this cause.”
Seventh Generation CEO Joey Bergstein told the news outlet that now, more than ever, it’s essential for CEOs and executives to speak up. “We’re deep believers that companies and businesses can and must be a force for good,” he says. “You’ll notice in our mission that we don’t talk at all about selling eco-friendly home and personal care products. We talk about the change we’re trying to create in the world, and that’s inclusive of social change, with this being a pivotal issue.”
A 2017 survey conducted by public relations firm Weber and Shandwick found that 47% of Millennials believe CEOs have a responsibility to speak up about issues that are important to society. Additionally, 28% of Gen Xers and Boomers agreed.
The letter that appeared in the Times was spearheaded by a group of advocacy organizations that comprises the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Center for Reproductive Rights. These organizations also have partnered to launch DontBanEquality.com, a site where people can learn more about the group’s mission and where CEOs can add their names to the letter.
“It’s critical that business leaders stand up and use our voice on incredibly important issues,” says Bergstein. “And I think reproductive rights and women’s equality is one of the most important issues of our time.”
Research contact: @CNBCMakeIt