US business leaders express support for abortion rights

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    Scores of US business leaders have joined the effort to keep abortion legal in the face of bans imposed in several states (AFP Photo/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

    Washington (AFP) – Nearly 200 business leaders on Monday endorsed an open letter on abortion rights, saying conservative efforts to restrict “comprehensive reproductive care” would be bad for both employees and customers.

    “Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers,” said the open letter that appeared as an ad in the New York Times.

    “Simply put, it goes against our values and is bad for business.”

    Several prominent tech executives were among those who signed the letter, including Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, Jeremy Stoppelman of Yelp and Stewart Butterfield of Slack.

    Bloomberg chairman Peter Grauer and Atlantic Records chairman Julie Greenwald were also among those endorsing the “Don’t Ban Equality” letter.

    The move comes with several US states adopting legislation that would test the 1973 “Roe v Wade” Supreme Court ruling asserting a woman’s constitution right to privacy in health matters that includes abortion.

    The letter suggests support from parts of the business community for abortion rights, although major companies such as Apple, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Cisco, AT&T, Facebook and Google remained silent on the matter.

    Leana Wen, president of the women’s reproductive rights group Planned Parenthood, welcomed the support.

    “We are grateful and inspired to have so many business leaders standing with us proudly and publicly to oppose these dangerous, unprecedented attacks — raising the alarm about the chilling effect on their employees and the communities where they do business,” Wen said.

    Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “Their statement today shows that the business community won’t sit on the sidelines while politicians continue to try to take away our reproductive rights.”

    Alabama, Missouri and other states recently adopted bans on abortion, in the hope that conservative justices appointed by President Donald Trump would reverse the longstanding legal precedent.