In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the Constitutional right to abortion and erasing womens’ ability to make personal decisions about their own bodies. In the weeks leading up to the Court’s ruling, many business leaders remained silent in an attempt to avoid public backlash. But as the CEO of a 60+ person company made up of over 50% women, I firmly believe that this is not the time for silence.
The Supreme Court’s decision will limit or completely eliminate reproductive rights for pregnant people in 21 states. This will not only force women to go through with unwanted or risky pregnancies; it will also fundamentally threaten what should be an inalienable right: the right for people to make their own decisions about what is best for their bodies, lives, and futures. I’m outraged and heartbroken that this right has been callously eradicated, and I believe it’s important to take a firm stand against this injustice. Here’s why it’s important for businesses to publicly support the right to choose.
To protect women’s rights.
Overturning Roe v. Wade turns the clock back to a time when women did not have bodily autonomy and directly contradicts the will of the majority of Americans. And it won’t stop there: In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Court should reconsider the rulings that protect access to contraception and LGBTQ+ rights. There are issues we can all agree to disagree on, but the right to choose is not one of them. Protecting women’s rights to make their own decisions is not something that should have ever been up for debate.
At the core, Roe v. Wade is not just about reproductive rights; it is about affirming women’s autonomy, freedom, and equality. I want to live in a world where rights are expanded, not eroded. That’s why I believe it’s essential to be vocal about my values—not just on a personal level, but as a business owner.
To let employees know where you stand is good business.
Four in 10 women say they have been discriminated against in the workplace, and research shows that limiting reproductive rights would make it more difficult for women to be in the workplace. I want my employees to know that our company actively stands against discrimination, even if other businesses are afraid to take a stand. To start, we are offering to cover travel expenses for employees who live in states where their rights may be limited. We are also committed to providing resources and support so that our employees know they are not alone.
If you’re still uncertain about making a stand publicly, here’s something you may not have considered: Letting employees know what you believe is good for business. Nearly 80% of employees say they want to work for a company that values diversity and inclusion, which means it’s important to be upfront about your values and be unequivocal in your support. This not only helps your current employees feel safe and supported at work; it also helps you attract and retain future talent. Because it is increasingly hard to find and keep great talent, being upfront about your values can help you find employees who resonate with them.
To let clients and customers know where you stand.
Many companies are refusing to take a public stand on reproductive rights because they’re afraid of alienating clients and losing customers. But I firmly believe that if supporting the right to choose scares people away, they’re not the people I want to attract anyway. Human rights matter more than the bottom line, always. The right to choose is a fundamental human right, and we should be affirming that right no matter the cost.
This is a scary and uncertain time, and it can feel daunting to figure out how to respond. But injustice thrives on inaction. Businesses and brands of all sizes have a tremendous impact on their local communities, which is felt in what they support publicly. When one company finds the courage to be upfront about their beliefs, it can create a ripple effect among other businesses and lead to lasting change. Through partnering with like minded clients and companies, we can work together to ensure reproductive justice and build a world where people can live freely and fully without fear.