February 7, 2023

Saturday’s comments came after the governor of Indiana on Friday signed a near-total ban on abortions, shortly after lawmakers approved it. The ban takes effect on September 15 and includes exceptions.

Lilly, based in Indianapolis, said the company was concerned that the law would affect its ability to attract “diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world.” The company, which has a market capitalization of $292 billion, is one of the largest employers in Indiana, with more than 10,000 of about 37,000 global workers in the state.

Describing the abortion as “very divisive and personal,” the company said it has expanded its health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services not available locally. Several companies have made similar adjustments since the US Supreme Court said in June that abortion is not a constitutional right.

Abortion rights supporters celebrated in Kansas after rejecting a constitutional amendment that would have ended protections for abortion. This was the first referendum on this issue since the Supreme Court struck down abortion rights at the federal level. Photo: Tami Leungblad/Associated Press

But Lilly said on Saturday that such efforts “may not be sufficient for some current and potential employees,” according to the statement. “Given this new law, we will have to plan for further employment growth outside of our home state.”

The statement also noted that the law could harm the recruitment of talent in Indiana on a large scale.

Cummins, also a major employer in Indiana, said it shared its concerns about the bill with state lawmakers before and during the legislative process. She said that women should have the right to make reproductive health care decisions, and that this ability is important for equal opportunity and diversity in the workplace.

A Cummins spokesperson said Saturday that provisions in the law “affect our people, impede our ability to attract and retain the best talent and influence our decisions as we continue to grow.” The company is worth about $31 billion and has about 60,000 employees with about 10,000 in Indiana, according to the spokesperson.

Cummins also pays for travel for elective procedures, including reproductive health, the spokesperson said.

Indiana is the first state to approve abortion restrictions after the Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs v. Jackson of the Women’s Health Organization. Other states moved to implement restrictions they had placed in the event that the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion was overturned.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has created new questions for employers about how to respond to the decision regarding company policies, and whether and what to say. Over the past several years, leaders of some of the country’s largest companies have become more vocal about a range of political and social issues, in part because of the pressure they feel from employees.

A number of companies across industries have said they will pay for employees to travel for abortion or other procedures if they need to move out of state, and some have expanded what health insurance covers as it relates to abortion or reproductive health services more broadly.

Others did not make housing and indicated that they had no plans to do so.

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce said earlier this week that it opposes the state bill, and is asking lawmakers not to pass it. The chamber cited concerns about attracting and retaining staff in the state amid workforce shortages, legal risks for doctors, and infant and maternal health issues.

“For the past two weeks, the Indiana State General Assembly has debated a fundamental change in policy on the issue of abortion in a compressed timeframe. Such an expedited legislative process — rushing to advance state policy on broad and complex issues — is at best detrimental to Hoosiers,” the chamber said in a statement. And at worst, reckless.

“I personally am extremely proud of every Hosier who has come forward to courageously share his views in a debate that is unlikely to stop any time soon,” Republican Governor Eric Holcomb said in a statement after signing the measure. He added that he would continue to “keep his ears open”.

write to Emily Glazer at [email protected]

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