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How Corporate America’s Offer to Fund Abortion-Related Travel Betrays a Deeply Perverse Incentive
Late last week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down what many consider its most important decision in half a century.
Rejecting the flawed and constitutionally bankrupt reasoning of Roe and Casey, the majority ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization marks a clear turning point in the decades-long battle over abortion. At long last, this crucial issue is returned to the people, to be decided by the constitutionally established political system envisioned by our nation’s founders.
As expected, the response to the ruling from the right and left has tracked along long-standing dividing lines. Abortion opponents—myself included—are celebrating a crucial victory that is a major step forward in protecting innocent lives from the deadly practice. Meanwhile, abortion advocates are loudly decrying the Court’s reversal of the landmark 1973 ruling that overrode existing abortion restrictions across the country and imposed a regime that banned even the most modest protections for unborn children and their mothers.
But while that type of polarized reaction among individuals, advocacy groups, and politicians comes as no surprise, there’s also another set of actors weighing in: CEOs of publicly traded companies.
As a news article at Law360.com summarizes, “Dozens of prominent companies, including Disney, Meta Platforms Inc. and Deutsche Bank, responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Friday overruling Roe v. Wade by saying they will cover employees’ costs to travel to another state if needed to obtain a legal abortion.”
Among those shareholder-owned corporations offering to foot the bill for their employees’ decision to end the life of their unborn child through abortion are banks like JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America. (Predictably, when Alliance Defending Freedom and Inspire Investing scored these banks as part of a 50-company “Viewpoint Diversity Score 2022 Business Index,” they all turned in failing grades when it came to respecting the diverse viewpoints of their customers, employees, and other stakeholders.)
Corporate America’s shilling for abortion raises the all-important question of why? Are these major corporations simply virtue signaling, as many did when they leveraged shareholder capital to oppose Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill earlier this year? That’s a move that has drawn dire warnings from within the business community—most notably from Richard Edelman, who heads a major PR consultancy firm. Unnecessarily wading into partisan politics is also a strategy that is backfiring in real-time, as both Disney and Netflix can testify.
Given the historic nature of the Dobbs decision, it could be that many of these companies threw caution to the wind in order to make a political statement. But that’s not the only possible motive to venture into the relatively uncharted waters of publicly celebrating the decision to fund travel expenses incurred by employees seeking to abort their own children.
There’s at least one very dark possibility. Viewed from a pure dollars-and-cents vantage point, corporations have far more to gain by funding abortion than they do childbirth and motherhood.
Consider a company’s cost analysis of childbirth versus abortion. As research from Kaiser Permanente captures, the average cost of having a baby is $30,000. The report goes on to state that, “maternity claims are one of the most common and expensive health care costs for businesses,” with maternity-related expenses “account[ing] for $1 out of every $5 that large employers spend on health care.”
But that’s just the hard cost. What about potential employee attrition? According to the same report, among two-out-of-three first-time mothers who work during pregnancy, 80 percent return to the same employer, with 59 percent going back to work within three months. The flip side of those numbers adds up to billions of dollars per year in risk for the country’s major corporations.
By comparison, taxpayer-funded abortion giant Planned Parenthood estimates the cost of an abortion at $750 or less. Even with travel expenses factored in, there’s simply no way to approach the average hard cost of childbirth—not to mention the uncertainty that particularly a first-time mother will return to the workforce with the same hours as she had prior to welcoming a new life into the world.
Is this perverse incentive fueling so many corporations’ willingness to pay for employees’ abortion? It may be difficult to cite chapter and verse for this grim motivation, but the numbers don’t lie, and the effect remains the same. In fact, history shows that this would be far from the first time a drive for maximum productivity ended up separating women from their children.
Consider these gut-wrenching words from the very first page of Frederick Douglass’s autobiography:
My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant—before I knew her as my mother. It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age. Frequently, before the child has reached its twelfth month, its mother is taken from it, and hired out on some farm a considerable distance off, and the child is placed under the care of an old woman, too old for field labor. For what this separation is done, I do not know, unless it be to hinder the development of the child’s affection toward its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child. This is the inevitable result.
By promising to permanently separate women from their children, corporate leaders are unnecessarily repeating the mistakes and outright sins of the past. Instead, those in C-suite positions should correct course by respecting the whole person of those on the payroll, as well as those who make up their customer base.
That means steering clear both of empty political posturing and the dehumanizing actions that seek to maximize short-term productivity at the intolerably high cost to women, unborn children, and society as a whole.Published in General
When I first heard Dick’s Sporting Goods offered $4K of travel expenses for abortion, it was obvious what was going on. A one time payout of $4K vs pre-natal care, a hospital stay, parental leave, and 26 years of dependent medical expenses? That’s a no-brainer.
Your reasoning is entirely plausible, Jay; thanks for pointing it out. It’s a vile and appalling calculus, as, interestingly, is so much done “for women” and “for the children.” Liars!
I have assumed for some time that corporate support for abortion was rooted in short-term cost / benefit analysis. The future absence of customers and employees will be the problem of future CEOs, long after the current CEO has moved on elsewhere and has divested his pile of company stock.
I appreciate you drawing our attention to yet another parallel between abortion and slavery, via the commentary by Frederick Douglass. Almost every time I read about the slavery debate at and shortly after the founding of the United States I think, “substitute ‘abortion’ for ‘slavery’ and I am reading the same debate today.” But although the owner of the mother didn’t want the baby too attached to the mother, at least the slave owner wanted the babies to be born so he had future workers. But yes, the slave owner had an interest in minimizing the time a slave spent on her baby.
Nonetheless, we have seen CEOs be fearfully reactive to the tiniest factions of woke Twitter mobsters, so it is possible that the CEOs think being vehemently pro-abortion is their ticket to keeping the Twitter mobsters at bay.
For years my wife has pointed out to the virtuous warriors on Facebook, who just know they’d have been on the frontlines freeing slaves, that there is a similar battle happening today and they are free to join her in the fight. They always come up with some reason why it’s different.
Yeah, I can just imargine some HR twerp with his/her PowerPoint presentation, explaining the benefits to senior management.
God, I am so glad to be retired!
CFO announced that the company was working on finding a way to pay for the travel expenses of employees seeking abortions.
In the same address, he warned that due to the looming recession, the company was looking for ways to cut costs.
Abortion travel expenses are evidently less expensive than maternity leave.
I never thought about this before, but the most productive are probably people who have no family or social life at all. If you have no family it is less likely you will have to take time off because someone is sick, someone is dying, someone needs help. If someone has no friends they are probably less likely to go on vacation or travel to go to a friend’s wedding or funeral.
If only there were an organ that could be cut out that would remove any desire for human companionship, some of these companies might be offering a bonus for getting such a surgery.
@FullSizeTabby it’s incredible to see the parallels between slavery and abortion. It’s not only the exact same arguments being repeated by defenders of an evil institution, but in abortion’s case, we’re talking about something that is actually far more evil than slavery, which only sometimes resulted in the brutal death of a victim. I think it’s good to keep that in mind when we’re tempted to downplay abortion as a political difference or somesuch.
@BishopWash it’s so easy to go and kick Goliath once he’s down and out. It makes you feel good, but what does it accomplish in the end when there’s an actual battle to fight today?
@VtheK, do you have a link to that? I’d love to see it if you do.
Indeed @RandyWeivoda. That’s one of many common threads between abortion and transgender ideology. Not that I think the primary motivation for either is necessarily profit-driven, but it certainly has the effect of enslaving the aborting woman or person caught up in the transgender milieu.