Identity Politics, Politics

What Corporations Really Mean When They Shout Their Support for Abortion

June 13, 2019
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Corporations are bad, liberals tell us. They are heartless, soul-sucking machines that chew people up and spit them out in the name of profit. Sure, more than half of the American workforce draws a paycheck from a midsize or large company, and capitalism has lifted billions of people around the world out of poverty. But if you’ve seen Office Space, you can see where Liz Warren is coming from.

You know who else is bad, according to liberals? Pro-lifers. They are heartless, woman-hating ideologues who don’t care about children after they are born. Sure, there are millions of people and thousands of groups who donate time and money to caring for women who are dealing with unwanted pregnancies and supporting them and their children. But if you’ve read the text of Alabama’s abortion ban, you can see where Kirsten Gillibrand is coming from.

So what happens when a group of corporations bands together to issue a statement that embodies the worst of corporate selfishness and the most callous disregard for women from the pro-life movement?

Liberals cheer. Naturally.

Earlier this week, almost 200 woke corporate leaders (goaded on by Planned Parenthood) took out a full-page ad in the New York Times that pleaded, “Don’t Ban Equality.”

Let’s break down this idiocy.

“When everyone is empowered to succeed, our companies, our communities, and our economy are better for it.”

If only—scratching my chin here—there were people with the ability to empower working parents to succeed ! If only we could find such magical, powerful people. People who have the powers of . . . I don’t know . . . maybe CORPORATE CEOS?

“We stand against policies that hinder people’s health, independence, and ability to fully succeed in the workplace.”

Umm . . . Who is better equipped to offer policies that help people enjoy independence and fully succeed in the workplace? I don’t know. Maybe EMPLOYERS?

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Abortion-rights advocates correctly point out that the majority of women seek abortions not because they got drunk and forgot to use birth control, or that the timing is bad because they have a luxury cruise they booked for next spring. Women get abortions because “having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%); and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%).”

There are a few ways of looking at this. One is that women (and their partners) are selfish and “should have thought of that before they got pregnant.” Another is that women can’t possible enjoy equality without discarding her unborn child.

But a better way to look at it is that our society does not do enough to support women and make them believe that they can succeed while having a child and going to school, or having a child and working.

Both sides are guilty here. As much as they are many inspiring pro-life groups run by young feminists who think we can better empower women and inspire them to make a better decision than abortion, the GOP—the party that is most identified with the pro-life movement—doesn’t do a great job of offering up non-governmental alternatives to the all-encompassing socialist takeover of healthcare and child-rearing.

On the other hand, the pro-choice movement is so far under the thumb of Planned Parenthood that they even resist messaging—forget policy—that might foster a woman’s belief that having a kid isn’t a prison sentence.

And now, in the name of woke capitalism—which, let’s be honest, is really just virtue signaling—we have corporate leaders shouting pro-choice propaganda to women. They are sending a message that nope, sorry, there is nothing to be done about equality for women who are facing uncertain futures. Nothing! So the only solution is to get rid of that child you created by accident. Get back to the factory floor. We’ve got a fourth quarter projection to beat while you, uh, fulfill yourself professionally. Or something.


And to make it all even more depressing, this message is coming from successful companies sitting on piles on venture capital and investment dollars. Companies such as Twitter and Yelp and Warby-Parker that offer free drinks and paid gym memberships and all other kinds of perks to keep their employees content. Companies that could offer generous parental leave or on-site childcare or fellowships targeted at single parents or flexible schedules and the opportunity to work from home.

I’m certain that some of these companies do some of these things, but so maybe they should be a little louder about it and offer some leadership to the rest of corporate America. Maybe they could even take out a full-page ad in the New York Times.

We will not be able to narrow the divide in this country over abortion until each side makes an important concession. Pro-lifers need to acknowledge the dignity of women and foster a more supportive environment. And pro-choicers need to recognize the humanity of the unborn.

If our corporate overlords really want to be woke, they could start by checking their birth privilege.

Rachael Larimore

Rachael Larimore is the managing editor of The Bulwark.