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The Supreme Court is Anti-Business

Recent events have confirmed – the Supreme Court is anti-business. As the moral and ethical assault on reproductive rights comes to a head, I have news for the business and investor community: you will not be able to sit this one out. You cannot comfortably stand on the sidelines as one of the saddest chapters of history is being rewritten right before our eyes.

The push to effectively end federal constitutional protection of abortion rights is not only a violation of human rights and bodily autonomy, but it goes against the principles of a free marketplace.

Make no mistake, this action did not happen overnight. It has been decades in the making. Emboldened by deeply biased legislatures, states have rolled back abortion access, made history illegal to teach, and attacked the basic human rights of the LGBTQ+ community – most recently in Texas and Florida – and show no signs of slowing down.

When sweeping change occurs, marginalized groups are often hit first and hardest. Abortion restrictions will be felt the heaviest among the youth, immigrants, low-income earners, rural residents, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Overturning Roe v Wade will accelerate this codified bigotry and pave the way for more attacks on policies that would inhibit business from participating in the global economy on a level playing field.

Christopher Miller, head of global activism strategy at Ben & Jerry’s and member of American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) explains that these policies put businesses at a competitive disadvantage. “It makes it difficult to deliver on pay equity and recruiting and retaining talented leaders when there is a blatant attack against women.”

The right to abortion care is a critical business issue set to deepen the existing disparities in the American workforce and undermine the fight for gender and racial equity. It threatens to erase nearly 50 years of progress in advancing workplace equality, disproportionately impacts low-wage workers, low-income communities, and communities of color, and forces businesses to implement multiple healthcare policies in various states.

As sustainable business leaders, we cannot advocate for a more equitable economy while neglecting the social issues that seek to deny our employees the dignity, justice, and sovereignty they deserve.

The stakes are clear. Business leaders must act. We must use our collective voice to protect the health and well-being of our employees because the future of business is reproductive rights for all.

Women account for 47 percent of the national workforce, in addition to the unpaid invisible labor associated with childcare. The economy is dependent on the critical contributions – seen and unseen – of women and people who might give birth. Their ability to fully contribute hinges on access to quality reproductive healthcare.

An attack on abortion is an attack on the American workforce. The same workforce who expects and deserves business leaders who take bold action in support of their basic human rights.

Consider the recent announcement from Amalgamated Bank, a member of ASBN and the largest union-owned bank and one of the only unionized banks in the United States. In the days following the leaked document, the bank pledged to cover travel expenses for employees and their families to travel out of state to access reproductive healthcare. Amalgamated Bank also launched the Critical Reproductive Access Fund to guide and support organizations providing direct funds to people seeking abortion services.

This type of bold and necessary action is essential in creating a more just and inclusive economy. I call on any employer in the position to do so to follow their lead.

The protection of reproductive rights is a shared responsibility – in which the business community plays a significant role – but it is not lost on me that true change happens on a systemic level.

As sustainable business leaders, we cannot advocate for a more equitable economy while neglecting the social issues that seek to deny our employees the dignity, justice, and sovereignty they deserve. It is the responsibility of businesses of every sector, size and geography to safeguard the right to choose.

In red states and blue states, several business leaders and Americans agree that a person should have the right to control their healthcare decisions. A recent poll showed an overwhelming 60 percent of Americans believe the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade and another three-quarters said the power to make abortion decisions should be remain with a patient and their doctor.

The far-reaching consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision are too egregious to ignore. The actions or inaction of business leaders today, has the potential to shape the economic landscape of America tomorrow.

Now is the time for us to use our most influential resource in bold support of reproductive healthcare for all – for the protection of human rights and for the future of our nation’s economy.

Jeffrey Hollender is CEO, co-founder and Board Chair of the American Sustainable Business Network, which through its national member network represents more than 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries.

This article was produced in collaboration with the Magazine's Content Partners.

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