Nearly 200 CEOs Virtue Signal Pro-Abortion Views in Troubling Letter

June 12, 2019

by Leo Thuman


This week, nearly 200 leaders in the corporate world signed a letter titled ‘Don’t Ban Equality.’ The website claims that the group represents more than 120,000 workers at numerous companies. While most of the signers are from small to medium sized companies in the fashion and new tech sectors, a few leaders from major companies have signed the letter. Some notable businesses represented are the finance and software firm Bloomberg LP, ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s, retail clothing giant H&M, and designer Diane von Furstenburg.

While it is titled ‘Don’t Ban Equality,’ the letter doesn’t deal with equal pay for women. In fact, it doesn’t deal with any issue in the corporate world where equality is concerned. Instead, it takes a position against the most fundamental right: the right to life.  

The letter begins “when everyone is empowered to succeed, our companies, our communities and our economy are better for it.” This seems unobjectionable; after all, a strong upbringing, or choice in education, or a healthy environment is empowering. People who are have these advantages are ready to succeed in the corporate world. Yet, the letter does not address any of those things. Rather, it focuses on what it calls “comprehensive reproductive care.”

The letter confirms that this term means abortion. This echoes a common, yet spurious trend on the Left to associate abortion with reproductive healthcare. Abortion does not enhance reproductive health. It destroys a human life, so it is actually counter-reproductive. This doublespeak echoes Orwell’s 1984. Yet that’s not the most disturbing thing.

The letter exposes that many companies see the Roe status quo on abortion as friendly to their bottom line. When women carry their children to term, they become less available to companies. This is because they need to balance their new obligations of parenthood with work responsibilities. Among low-income communities, this becomes even more pronounced. Many low-income mothers don’t have a spouse to assist them with childcare responsibilities. Almost half of the women who receive abortions are below the federal poverty level. Moreover, many of the companies on the letter have retail bases which rely on unskilled labor.

Looking at the big picture, the economic situation is more complex than the letter’s cloying platitudes suggest. Population growth is worth considering. America is experiencing population growth at an annual rate of less than one percent. A significant number of economists think this rate doesn’t coincide with a maximized potential for growth. Even the liberal-leaning International Growth Centre has found that historically, optimal economic growth coincides with 1.5 percent annual growth in population.  

When a child is aborted, a person’s chance at life isn’t the only thing lost. Society loses a chance at having a creative contributor to the economy. Sometimes, failed abortion procedures make women liable to diseases which cause infertility. These situations render women unable to choose motherhood in the future. Why is corporate America so concerned with appearing ‘progressive’ by promoting a procedure that hinders their long-run interests?

This is the latest example of what some commentators call ‘Woke Corporate Tyranny.’ This idea is that companies seek to be ‘hip’ and in line with the Left’s causes to receive business from cosmopolitan markets. This concept has gotten significantly greater play lately, with Netflix and Disney reacting similarly against states which have restricted abortion.

But while that overall trend is concerning, this letter has been over-hyped by news outlets. While it is true that many executives have signed it, barely more than 100,000 workers have done the same. For scale, 100,000 is less than the entire workforce of H&M. Given the large disparity in support between CEOs and ordinary working people, it would be easy for most Americans to dismiss this as elitist virtue-signalling. Meanwhile, these companies have also given principled citizens a handy guide on who to stop giving their business.

Besides, who needs Ben & Jerry’s over-hyped store ice cream when one can get a delicious Frosty at Wendy’s and feel good knowing the company says yes to life?

Photo credit: Jordan Uhl via Flickr, CC BY 2.0


Leo Thuman works for American Principles Project.

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