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‘To the detriment of our entire society’: CEOs react to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

June 24, 2022, 7:23 PM UTC

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade will likely lead to abortion access being cut off in dozens of states. The historic ruling has captured national attention, and is pressuring business leaders to take a stance on women’s reproductive rights.

The court’s likely decision has been known for nearly two months, since a copy of justices’ majority opinion was leaked by Politico on May 3. But the announcement has still sent shockwaves throughout the American business world, with many CEOs now tasked with figuring out how to adjust their policies towards female employees in response to potential changes in abortion laws.

After Politico reported on the majority opinion, some companies—including Amazon, Apple, Yelp, and Citigroup—announced that they would begin covering travel expenses for female employees who needed to seek treatment out of state. Others, including Disney and Walmart, remained largely silent. 

Now that the ruling has been officially disclosed, executives are sharing their thoughts on the matter. Sheryl Sandberg, the outgoing chief operating officer at Meta and prolific advocate for female empowerment, called the ruling a “huge setback” in a Facebook post on Friday.

“For ourselves, our daughters, and every generation that follows, we must keep up the fight,” she wrote. “Together, we must protect and expand abortion access.”

Chief executives of large companies have also felt compelled to address the issue, and how their companies will react.

Bumble

Whitney Wolfe Heard, founder and CEO of popular dating app Bumble, wrote in a blog post Friday that the ruling represented “quite literally the opposite” of Bumble’s principles. The app only allows women to initiate contact with potential matches, a feature Heard said can “give women control over their relationships so they can live healthier and more equitable lives.”

“The consequences will be devastating,” Heard said of the ruling.

Con Nast

Roger Lynch, CEO of media and entertainment giant Condé Nast, sent out a memo to employees on Friday, writing that the Supreme Court ruling represented a “crushing blow to reproductive rights that have been protected for nearly half a century.” 

Lynch announced “enhancements” to U.S. health benefits to cover reproductive care expenses, and said that the company’s recognizable brands—which include Vogue, The New Yorker, and Wired—will spotlight the consequences of the ruling.

“The most powerful way for us to respond to what’s happening right now is through our brands and the distinctive editorial lenses with which they’re covering today’s news and the effect it will have on society,” Lynch wrote.

All Home

Tomiquia Moss, CEO and founder of home improvement and renovation company All Home, wrote a blog post on Friday calling the ruling a “ devastating setback for the movement to end homelessness and poverty in America.” She said that ending access to abortion removed women’s ability to make “fundamental decisions” about their future.

“This will be another barrier in their path to self-determination and opportunity, to the detriment of our entire society,” Moss added.

Yelp

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of business review company Yelp, tweeted his disappointment about the ruling on Friday. 

“Today’s SCOTUS ruling puts women’s health in jeopardy, denies them their human rights, and threatens to dismantle the progress we’ve made toward gender equality in the workplace since Roe,” he wrote, adding that he expected businesses to “speak out now and call on Congress to codify Roe into law.”

Reddit

Alexis Ohanian, one of Reddit’s cofounders and former executive chairman wrote that he was “so sorry to see” the ruling, and called on Democrats in Congress to focus on the issue during next fall’s midterm elections.

In another tweet, Ohanian expressed concern that the Supreme Court could begin targeting other rights as well, citing a statement by Justice Clarence Thomas that raised fears same-sex marriage could be on the chopping block next. 

“I wonder if this Supreme Court would even overturn Loving v. Virginia and make my marriage illegal like it used to be, too?” wrote Ohanian, who is married to professional tennis player Serena Williams, referring to the 1967 case where the Supreme Court ruled that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional.

Dick’s

Lauren Hobart, CEO of outdoor equipment retailer Dick’s, wrote that the company remained “committed” to supporting the health and well-being of its employees, and assured workers that these protections would remain in place in every state the company operates in, including those where abortion laws are likely to change.

Box

Aaron Levie, founder and CEO of cloud-based content management company Box, called the ruling “shocking” in a tweet, and that the country appeared to be “moving backwards in time at nearly every turn possible.”

In a separate tweet by the company, Box expressed its “disappointment” at the ruling, and said it would continue covering paid time off and medical and travel expenses for workers seeking reproductive medical care.

Mass General Brigham

Dr. Anne Klibanski, CEO of Mass General Brigham, a health care services company that is the largest private employer in Massachusetts, said she was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling, and expressed concern over the future of reproductive rights.

Paramount

Hollywood and the entertainment industry have long been outspoken advocates of reproductive rights, and companies came out en masse Friday reacting to the ruling. Major cinematic and streaming studios—including Disney, Sony, Paramount Global, Netflix, and Comcast—immediately announced new policies offering travel reimbursements for female employees seeking abortion care, The Wrap reported.

In a company memo sent out on Friday and obtained by Variety, Paramount Global CEO Robert Bakish wrote that the country was entering a “​​moment of profound uncertainty,” but reassured employees that Paramount would continue to provide reproductive health care in insurance packages and would reimburse travel expenses for female workers “if the covered health service, such as abortion, is prohibited in your area.”

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