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How Amalgamated Bank prepared for the reversal of Roe v. Wade

June 23, 2022, 1:38 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Women board members like Mary Dillon are top contenders for the Starbucks CEO job, France upholds its burkini ban, and we’re all waiting for that Supreme Court decision. Have a smooth Thursday.

– Waiting game. It’s Thursday morning on the East Coast, and in less than an hour, the Supreme Court is again scheduled to release a batch of decisions on the remaining cases on its docket this term. We don’t know whether a final decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will be released this morning—the court is also scheduled to issue verdicts on Friday—but one thing is for certain: a decision will be here soon.

In the meantime, it might be helpful to hear from business leaders about how they’ve prepared for the likely end of Roe v. Wade. One such leader is Maura Keaney, first vice president for commercial banking at Amalgamated Bank. Despite the firm’s positioning in a conservative industry, it has long been a proponent of reproductive rights.

The bank’s connection to the issue dates back to 2009, when abortion provider George Tiller was killed by an anti-abortion extremist in Wichita, Kansas. A former associate of Tiller’s tried to reopen the abortion clinic, but community and regional banks would not offer her a line of credit, citing a lack of credit history and high risk. Amalgamated Bank, which calls itself “the bank for people who care what their money does in the world,” collateralized a line of credit using a certificate of deposit that one of her backers purchased. “She was able to get a line of credit, just like any other business would” to open the clinic called Trust Women, says Keaney.

With $57 billion in AUM, the 99-year-old institution is the largest B-corp certified bank in the U.S. So when abortion rights seemed to be in jeopardy in certain states, and now nationwide, it wasn’t the first time Amalgamated had navigated similar social issues. “This is a long path that Amalgamated has been walking,” Keaney says.

With policy changes in the works well before the Supreme Court leak in early May, the bank was able to quickly announce new benefits, including abortion-related travel reimbursement for employees and their dependents and the launch of a reproductive health care fund.

“As an employer, we think our policy is comprehensive,” says Keaney. “But as a socially responsible business, we are publicly speaking out in support of the right to choose. We believe that it’s a business issue, an employer issue, and a social responsibility issue. It’s incumbent on us to be vocal about that.”

The bank has spent the past several weeks engaging with other businesses and external partners, including Ben and Jerry’s and Patagonia.

With a Supreme Court decision expected imminently, Amalgamated’s actions can offer lessons to the many businesses that have yet to weigh in on the end of Roe. ”The urgency, the immediacy will certainly change,” Keaney says. In days, or even minutes, those companies may no longer have the option to stay silent.

Emma Hinchliffe

The Broadsheet is Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Today’s edition was curated by Paige McGlauflin. Subscribe here.


- Latest buzz. Prominent female executives are among the suspected contenders to assume the CEO role at Starbucks. Though the company won’t make a CEO announcement until the fall, Mary Dillon, former CEO of Ulta Beauty and a Starbucks board director, is considered a strong fit for the role. Dillon’s retail experience could assist Starbucks, which has faced economic, supply chain, and labor struggles in recent years. Bloomberg

- Major fumble. Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder directed a "shadow investigation" to meddle with an NFL investigation of sexual harassment claims against him and his team, according to findings released Wednesday by a Congressional committee investigating the claims. Snyder and his legal team hired numerous investigators to target victims, witnesses, and journalists who shared credible accusations against the team. The NFL was reportedly made aware of Snyder’s actions but failed to take “meaningful steps” to prevent them. New York Times

- Results are in. Tuesday was another major primary day. In Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser won the Democratic primary, likely securing a third term. In Georgia, Democrat Bee Nguyen won the primary runoff for secretary of state and will face incumbent Brad Raffensberger in November. In Virginia, women secured eight of 22 major party nominations for the U.S. House, five of which will face incumbents in the November midterm elections. Alabama Republican Katie Britt defeated incumbent Rep. Mo Brooks in a primary runoff after securing 44.8% of the vote. Center for American Women and Politics

- Algorithm reforms. Meta has agreed to alter its advertising technology and pay a $115,054 fine as part of an algorithmic discrimination lawsuit brought by the Justice Department. The tech giant was accused of discriminating against users based on race, gender, religion, and other characteristics through its ad targeting software, which determined who would see housing advertisements. Meta has agreed to stop using its current software for housing ads and will develop and implement a new system by the end of the year. New York Times

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Brooke Minters, former executive producer of video for Politico, has joined The Verge as editorial director for audio. Residential property management startup Super has hired Glossier’s former director of creative technology Doa Jafri as fractional chief technology officer. Alcoholic beverages producer Beam Suntory has appointed former Avangrid chief sustainability officer and senior vice president of corporate communications Zsoka McDonald as chief communications officer.


- Historic appointment. President Joe Biden plans to appoint tribal chief Marilynn Malerba as the next U.S. Treasurer. The Biden administration is planning to establish an Office of Tribal and Native Affairs within the Treasury, and Malerba would be the first Native American appointed to that position. Malerba is the first woman to serve as chief of the Mohegan Tribe, located in southern Connecticut, and previously served in various tribal government roles. AP

- Final count. Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, the only anti-abortion Democrat in the U.S. House, has officially defeated progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros. The Texas Democratic Party announced Tuesday that Cuellar won by 289 votes following a recount of the district’s May primary election. CNN   

- Gag order. An Australian judge ordered a delay of a Parliamentary rape trial following remarks on the case made in the press this weekend. Australia has strict rules on speech tied to criminal prosecutions, suggesting news coverage could sway jurors. Lisa Wilkinson, a journalist who’s covered accuser Brittany Higgins’s allegations, accepted an award for her coverage this weekend. Her acceptance speech and subsequent coverage of the speech put the brakes on the trial. New York Times   

- Burkini ban. France’s highest administrative court upheld a ban on burkinis, full-body swimsuits often worn by Muslim women, in public pools. The city of Grenoble, situated in southeastern France, previously authorized the use of the swimwear, defying the country’s strict rules on public religious expression. The court said it could not allow “selective exceptions” to national rules in its decision. BBC


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"My career and my children are a product of my own hard work and choices, underpinned by a society and health care system that once understood the necessity of an individual’s right to choose their own destiny."

-New York Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett on how her decision to have an abortion as a medical student allowed her to have the career and family she has today.

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