Texas Republicans have long boasted their business-friendly policies to be the lifeblood of the state’s burgeoning economy. But recently, a war seems to be brewing between Republican lawmakers and businesses that are not so thrilled with the backwards social stances of the party.
The latest battle is between a group of Texan Republican lawmakers and the CEO of Lyft, Logan Green. In a letter to Green, 14 lawmakers, led by State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R- Deer Park), pledged to take “swift and decisive action” against Lyft if they failed to rescind their new policy that aims to assist women seeking abortion care. The Texas Tribune reported that lawmakers pledged to introduce bills to “bar corporations from doing business in Texas if they pay for abortions in states where the procedure is legal.” The letter also promised policies that would open executives up to lawsuits and prevent abortion access through health insurance.
This follows Green’s April 29th announcement of Lyft’s new policy via tweet, where Green promised to cover legal fees of drivers sued under SB 8, extend abortion access through Lyft’s healthcare plan, and seek ways to cover costs of rides out-of-state for Texan women seeking abortion access.
This is not the first time businesses have spoken out against Texas Republicans’ barbarism. In 2017, Texas business leaders spoke out fervently against the proposed anti-transgender “bathroom bill” that would impede bathroom access for transgender individuals. This uproar from the business community arguably led to the quiet death of the bill later that year.
Similarly, following the crackdown on abortion access championed by Texas Republicans, businesses seem to be unhappy with this turn to dystopian-esque society. Major corporations – including Amazon, Citigroup, Apple, and Starbucks – recently pledged support for those seeking abortion access, expanding healthcare plans and covering travel costs in an attempt to rebuke laws restricting access to reproductive healthcare. Notably, Tesla, which is based in Texas, is among those companies as well. The company recently publicized a policy that provides “travel and lodging support for those who may need to seek healthcare services that are unavailable in their home state.” While the policy does not explicitly say the word “abortion,” abortion access is reportedly included in this offering.
Although it is unclear whether or not the measures threatened by Republican lawmakers will pass, if Cain’s policies are in fact proposed and signed into law by the Texas government, it will decidedly cause massive negative ramifications in relation to the state’s economy and business environment. In a state where Republican lawmakers laud their “business-friendly practices” as re-election tools, we will now see how much they are willing to sacrifice for their egregious war on women’s health.