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'This is America taking a big step backward': Business leaders react to Roe v. Wade

·Reporter
·5 min read

On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision, a move that removes the federal right to obtain an abortion and opens the door for roughly half of US states to ban or restrict abortions in the near-term.

A number of major corporations have already taken action to help employees maintain access to reproductive healthcare benefits, including travel coverage to locations offering legal abortions.

Companies including Amazon (AMZN), Mastercard (MA), Netflix (NFLX) and Apple (AAPL) have already announced or told employees that their firms would provide this coverage.

In addition to this corporate response, individual executives across the business world are also reacting to this news with their thoughts following the decision, underscoring the far-reaching implications of the ruling, both within and beyond the business and economic spheres.

Here's what a number of business leaders have said in the wake of the June 24 decision:

Sheryl Sandberg, Meta Platforms COO

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Meta Platforms, called the Supreme Court's ruling "a huge setback" for millions of women and girls across the country.

"I grew up hearing stories from my mom about what women in our country went through before Roe. My Mom had a friend who left the country to get a safe abortion. Most women could not afford to do this; some had back-alley abortions, which led all too often to serious health complications and sometimes even death," Sandberg — who announced earlier this month that she would be stepping down from her role as COO of the tech company — said in a Facebook post. "I never thought my mom’s past would become my daughters’ futures. I cannot believe that I’m going to send my three daughters to college with fewer rights than I had."

"The Supreme Court’s ruling jeopardizes the health and the lives of millions of girls and women across the country," she added. "It threatens to undo the progress women have made in the workplace and to strip women of economic power. It will make it harder for women to achieve their dreams. And it will disproportionately impact women with the fewest resources."

FILE- In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sandberg, the No. 2 exec at Facebook owner Meta, is stepping down, according to a post Wednesday, June 1, 2022 on her Facebook page. Sandberg has served as chief operating officer at the social media giant for 14 years. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
FILE- In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sandberg, the No. 2 exec at Facebook owner Meta, is stepping down, according to a post Wednesday, June 1, 2022 on her Facebook page. Sandberg has served as chief operating officer at the social media giant for 14 years. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Melinda French Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair

Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of Pivotal Ventures, said Friday that the Supreme Court's ruling signaled "America taking a big step backward."

"Today, a government in which women have never had an equal voice reached deep into the most private corners of a woman’s life to tell her the choice over what she does with her body is no longer her own. This is America taking a big step backward," French Gates said in a LinkedIn post. "But one court decision was never going to be enough to protect women’s equality. And it will not be enough to dismantle it either. Right now, there are people all over the U.S. who are recommitting to the work ahead."

Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp Co-founder and CEO

Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and CEO of the online directory Yelp (YELP), called on peer business leaders to urge Congress to cement the federal protections conferred by Roe v. Wade into law.

"Today's SCOTUS ruling puts women's health in jeopardy, denies them their human rights, and threatens to dismantle the progress we’ve made toward gender equality in the workplace since Roe," Stoppelman said in a Twitter post. "Business leaders must speak out now and call on Congress to codify Roe into law."

Aaron Levie, Box CEO and Founder

The CEO and founder of cloud software company Box issued a brief rebuke of the Supreme Court's ruling.

"Shocking," Levie said in a Twitter post. "Our country is moving backwards in time at nearly every turn possible."

Lauren Hobart, Dick's Sporting Goods President and CEO

Lauren Hobart, President and CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods, on Friday joined a series of other companies across industries in announcing reimbursements for travel costs for employees seeking abortions. In a post from her personal LinkedIn page, Hobart outlined the company's updated plan to provide "consistent and safe access" for employees across the country.

"While we do not know what decision each state will make in response to this ruling, we at Dick's Sporting Goods are prepared to ensure that all of our teammates have consistent and safe access to the benefits we provide, regardless of the state in which they live," Hobart said in a LinkedIn post. "In response to today's ruling, we are announcing that if a state one of our teammates lives in restricts access to abortion, Dick's Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available."

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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