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Abortion laws are "bad for business," nearly 200 CEOs say

Netflix to fight Georgia's abortion bill
  • The CEOs of more than 180 companies signed an open letter arguing that state laws restricting women's reproductive rights are "bad for business."
  • Policies such as Georgia's fetal heartbeat law people's "hinder people's health... and ability to fully succeed in the workplace," the executives maintain.
  • A number of major film and media companies, including Walt Disney and Netflix, have suggested they may avoid productions in states with heartbeat bills.

Chief executives of more than 180 companies are urging lawmakers to step back from restrictive abortion laws, arguing that they "hinder people's health, independence and ability to fully succeed in the workplace."

The open letter also contends that anti-abortion policies are "bad for business." Among the corporate leaders signing the letter are Atlantic Records & Warner Music Group's Julie Greenwald, Bloomberg's Peter Grauer, Slack Technologies' Stewart Butterfield, Square's Jack Dorsey and Yelp's Jeremy Stoppelman. Other CEOs included the fashion mogul Diane von Furstenberg and talent agency chief Ariel Emanuel.

Their move to take a stand on the issue follows pushback from Hollywood studios over restrictive laws targeting reproductive rights, such as Georgia's law that would ban abortions as early as six weeks, upon detection of a fetal heartbeat. Director Spike Lee last week urged Hollywood studios to pull the plug on projects in Georgia, saying it was time for productions to "shut it down" in protest of the law.

Netflix and other major media companies, including Walt Disney Co., NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and CBS and Showtime, have said they are reconsidering their hundreds of millions of dollars in investments in states where so-called heartbeat bills have either been passed or are already in effect.

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The CEOs' letter, titled "Don't Ban Equality," was sparked by what the signers call an "alarming trend of bans passing in states across the country that restrict access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including abortion." The group cited research from polls that show a majority of Americans believe having control over their reproductive health care is essential for a person's economic success.

The letter, which ran as a full-page ad in The New York Times and which is also posted at DontBanEquality.com, was signed by CEOs across a number of industries, including technology, fashion, banking, retail and energy. The executives represent more than 108,000 workers and have companies based in 17 states.

"A woman's ability to access reproductive health care is critical to her autonomy, economic success, health, human rights and empowerment in the workplace," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement issued by Don't Ban Equality. "Reproductive health care is a human right for all, no matter who you are, where you live, or your profession."