It’s a lesson that everyone learns from a young age: actions have consequences. In Texas, Republican lawmakers are realizing that their extreme anti-abortion bill, which took effect September 1, is causing major ramifications in the business world.
For years, Republicans, especially Governor Abbott, have touted the business-friendly nature of Texas. They have congratulated the multiple companies who have relocated their headquarters to the state. And they especially do so when those companies move from California.
But now in the wake of an extremely rightwing legislative session and subsequent special sessions, Republicans find themselves on the defense trying to justify a host of new laws — especially Senate Bill 8, the most radical anti-abortion law in the country. Not only does SB 8 essentially ban abortion after six weeks, it also allows virtually anyone to sue any person they suspect has aided or abetted an abortion.
Abbott and Texas Republicans may have celebrated when the Supreme Court refused to block SB 8, but around the country the business world was doing the opposite. Both Lyft and Uber announced they would cover any potential legal costs to drivers who are sued under the new law. The chief executive of Match Group, one of the largest dating sites in the world that is based in Texas, said she would start a fund to support abortion care for employees who need it. Bumble, another dating website based in Texas, also announced they were starting a relief fund for people who require an abortion in the state.
It is also possible this law could prompt a large corporate exodus from Texas. Last week, the CEO of Salesforce, one of the largest software companies in the world, sent a message to employees that they would assist in relocating any employee who wanted out of Texas. The city of Chicago also took out a full-page ad in The Dallas Morning News blasting SB 8. The Washington Post spoke to several tech workers who are now planning to leave Texas thanks to its ultra-conservative new laws.
Though Texas experienced unprecedented growth last decade, laws like SB 8 could imperil the future. SB 8 isn’t the only extreme bill now on the books in the state, there’s permitless carry, a ban on critical race theory that is a de facto school censorship bill, and the voter suppression bill SB 1. There is also a lingering anxiety for many after February’s deadly winter storm that crippled the power grid, which was something not tackled by the legislature.
While Abbott likes to say Texas is open for business, just how many businesses want to take up that offer now?
Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images