Banking giant Citigroup has initiated a policy of covering transportation and lodging for employees who choose to travel out of their home state to obtain an abortion. In a public filing on Tuesday, Citigroup said the policy is a “response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the US,” and, though it did not explicitly mention abortion, said that the travel reimbursements would “facilitate access to adequate resources.”
This is far from the first time that a major corporation has expressed financial support for unlimited abortion access. Last year, after Texas enacted its Heartbeat Act, dozens of major companies published a statement proclaiming support for “reproductive healthcare.” Ride-share companies Lyft and Uber promised to pay the legal fees of any driver prosecuted under the law, which creates a private right of action against anyone who assists a woman in obtaining an abortion.
These monetary efforts are just a new flavor of the same old story. In 2019, major companies such as Netflix, Disney, and WarnerMedia threatened to pull all of their business out of Georgia after the state attempted to enact a ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. More recently, Disney’s CEO criticized a Florida law that progressives and media outlets have inaccurately labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which in fact prohibits public-school teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through third grade.
This last example isn’t specifically about state pro-life laws, but it’s relevant because of the way Florida governor Ron DeSantis has handled it. When a reporter invoked the phrase “don’t say gay” when asking a question about the bill, DeSantis replied, “Does it say that in the bill? I’m asking you to tell me what’s in the bill, because you are pushing false narratives.”
In response to the complaints of the Disney CEO — who called DeSantis personally to “express [Disney’s] disappointment and concern that if the legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary, and transgender kids and families” — DeSantis rejected calls to oppose the legislation and said state law would be based on the “best interest of Florida citizens, not on the musings of woke corporations.”
In his handling of this controversy over a bill that ought never to have been controversial at all, DeSantis has demonstrated for pro-life leaders across the country how to respond to woke corporations that support abortion: reject inaccurate characterizations of state law, refuse to let biased reporters shape the terms of the debate, and refuse to be bullied into abandoning reasonable policies. If every state followed his example, these corporations would find far less reason to spend so much time virtue signaling on social issues.
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