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Melissa Simpson holds up her arm with "My Body My Choice" written on it during a protest against recently passed abortion ban bills at the Georgia State Capitol building, on May 21, 2019 in Atlanta

Melissa Simpson holds up her arm with "My Body My Choice" written on it during a protest against recently passed abortion ban bills at the Georgia State Capitol building, on May 21, 2019 in Atlanta. (Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

#DontBanEquality: 180+ CEOs Denounce Attacks on Abortion Access

New statement from business leaders says imposing restrictions on reproductive care "goes against our values and is bad for business"

Andrea Germanos

"Don't ban equality."

So said the chief executives of over 180 companies on Monday in a statement affirming gender equality and denouncing attacks on reproductive rights including abortion bans.

In the new statement, which ran as a a full-page ad in The New York Times on Monday, the CEOs from Amalgamated Bank, Atlantic Records, Bloomberg L.P., H&M U.S., Square, and other companies said that imposing limits on comprehensive reproductive care "goes against our values and is bad for business."

Restricting such access, they wrote, "impairs our ability to build diverse and inclusive workforce pipelines, recruit top talent across the states, and protect the well-being of all the people who keep our businesses thriving day in and out."

The effort was led by rights organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, The American Civil Liberties Union, and Center for Reproductive Rights, and marked a rebuttal to a recent slew of state-level extreme abortion bans.

Those bans, as NARAL president Ilyse Hogue noted, run counter to public opinion.

"The vast majority of Americans, 7 in 10, believe that abortion should be legal—and understand that access to reproductive healthcare is fundamentally linked to economic security and professional opportunity," she said. "NARAL applauds the business leaders signing the #DontBanEquality letter for taking a stand on behalf of their employees, customers, and communities, and affirming the mainstream view that women deserve to be able to make private, personal medical decisions without politicians interfering."

"As anti-choice politicians are escalating attacks on these fundamental freedoms," Hogue continued, "we encourage the entire business community to join us in protecting access to reproductive healthcare in the critical months and years to come."

Georgia is among a number of the states that recently passed extremist bans, prompting threats of potential boycotts from heavyweights including Disney and Netflix given the state's status as the shooting location for several television shows and films. Director Spike Lee recently entered the fray as well, saying, "You've got to be on the right side of history, and the state of Georgia and those other states, they're wrong."

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, suggested in a statement Monday that all those who support reproductive rights actively join the fight.

"When a woman's reproductive rights and freedoms are under attack," said Northup, "the health and well-being of our society is in jeopardy. It is critical we join together as advocates, business leaders, and consumers to make clear how important access to reproductive healthcare is to our society as a whole."

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