Why do so many American companies support the extermination of millions of potential future customers? It’s a question that the media really needs to start asking corporate executives.
After all, more than three dozen major American businesses fund Planned Parenthood – America’s leading abortion mill. Last year, more than 180 CEOs signed a full-page advertisement in the New York Times calling pro-life legislation “bad for business.” And after Georgia passed a heartbeat bill last May, eight Hollywood studios – including Disney, Netflix, CBS, and AMC – threatened to stop filming in the Peach State if the law went into effect.
Again, how is it good for businesses to kill off swaths of future consumers? If your company is directly involved in the abortion industrial complex, an argument could be made that you need to kill more babies to increase profits. But the companies that fund Planned Parenthood and oppose pro-life legislation don’t fit that bill.
Included among the companies whose CEOs signed the New York Times advertisement are Twitter, Away, Yelp, and Seventh Generation. They don’t perform abortions. Companies that fund Planned Parenthood, such as AT&T, Microsoft, Bank of America, and Starbucks, aren’t profiting from the anti-life business.
Nike’s funding of Planned Parenthood is even more perplexing considering that it makes enormous revenue from the African American community. After all, Planned Parenthood was founded by a racist white woman, Margaret Sanger, and racial disparities in abortion abound. As noted in the Wall Street Journal, “Nationally, black women terminate pregnancies at far higher rates than other women… In 2014, 36% of all abortions were performed on black women, who are just 13% of the female population.”
You would think with all this support for abortion and opposition to pro-life legislation, that the abortion machine would be satisfied with its standing in corporate America. You’d be wrong.
According to an article published recently in CG Roll Call, left-wing activist investors are ramping up the pressure on numerous companies to support pro-abortion initiatives. The article notes that a “group of 36 investors managing $236 billion in assets sent a letter to CEOs of more than 30 companies asking them to discuss their positions related to sexual and reproductive health care, including contraception and abortion.”
As part of this initiative, activists in the As You Sow network have filed five shareholder resolutions – the first resolutions to focus principally on abortion since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. The proposals, two of which were filed with Macy’s and Progressive, are ostensibly designed to have companies report on the effect of pro-life legislation on their workforces. However, the activists behind these efforts have a very tough time containing their anti-life zeal and goals.
Allan Pearce of Trillium Asset Management made it clear that this effort is designed to get corporate America to take liberal positions in culture wars. He said, “[t]hey risk losing one way or another — you’re going to risk losing customers, you’re going to risk losing employees. So it’s kind of like companies almost have to take a stance, and just trying to be neutral is something that you can’t really do.”
The message is clear: Get into the abortion debate, get on our side, or we are coming after you.
This is part of a common design that I described in The Hill last August. I explained, “Liberal activist shareholders have a well-defined pattern of altering corporate behavior… First, a progressive shareholder group, almost always from the As You Sow network, files a shareholder resolution demanding a company make a pro-ESG policy statement… Once the left has the statement it wants, it next targets those companies with proposals calling for further action on those stated principles.”
The As You Sow abortion proposals are step one. And this liberal network is so brash, it is flatly telling corporations what is coming next.
Shelley Alpern of Rhia Ventures couldn’t hide her group’s political goal in filing these resolutions, telling CQ Roll Call, “lobbying and political contributions that ultimately fund candidates or groups backing abortion restrictions do implicate companies.”
The threat is real. Once these companies make any positive statement on abortion, these investor advocates will dictate corporate PAC giving away from pro-life candidates.
That is why the companies facing these proposals must reject them. And pro-life investors and customers need to reach out to these companies to voice their opinions.
Companies can – and indeed should – remain neutral in the culture wars. But they need to hear from both sides in order to have the political courage to do so.
Justin Danhof is general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research and director of the center’s Free Enterprise Project.