An open letter to the CEOs speaking up for equality and human rights. (Sign on here.)
Over the past two years, business leaders across the country have stepped up to successfully fight against the passage of mean-spirited laws like the so-called “religious freedom” laws that allow companies to deny service to gay people and “bathroom bills” that prohibit transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.
Most recently in Texas, CEOs from 51 Fortune 500 companies—including all the major tech firms—publicly condemned a proposed bathroom bill, writing in a letter to the Governor that the proposed law was discriminatory and saying “Such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business.” These efforts were enormously effective, and a triumph for human rights and common human decency. Now, we urge you to expand on these efforts.
At the same time it was debating the bathroom bill, the Texas legislature debated and passed four new draconian abortion restrictions, including a ban prohibiting all private health insurance plans from covering abortion care. Because of hostile laws, Texas now has only 21 clinics that provide abortion services, down from more than 40 just four years ago, and 82 family planning clinics across the state were forced to close after Texas refused Medicaid family planning funds.
The result? Women are literally dying. Maternal mortality in the state has risen to unprecedented levels in recent years, making these restrictions on access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare of particular concern.
It’s not just happening in Texas. In 28 states and in Congress bills to criminalize and ban all or some abortions have been introduced this year. And now the Trump administration has announced two new interim rules that would allow all employers to deny birth control coverage for their employees and their families, and allow insurance companies to deny birth control coverage to all of their enrollees. Although the Affordable Care Act mandate requiring employers and health insurance companies to provide plans that cover birth control without co-pays or deductibles still exists, the new rules create a massive loophole that can deny women the right to make their own healthcare decisions.
Dr. Daniel Grossman, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, put it this way: “[These laws and regulations] increase risks to women’s health and prevent employers from supporting their workers building their families, if, when and how they choose.”
Please join us in our effort to fight these discriminatory laws that are not only “bad for your employees” — all your employees, men as well as women — but are also “bad for business.” We urge you to publicly pledge that you will speak up and fight to protect this fundamental human right. And that you will guarantee all your employees are covered for the full range of reproductive health care—including abortion and contraception—with no co-pays or no deductibles, and speak with your contractors to do the same.
Our fights for justice and equality are interconnected, and we cannot move forward if we do not fight together. We need you to stand with us in our fight for women’s bodily autonomy and self-determination, and for the right of women and men to plan their families.
Say you’re #SilentNoMore.