Hi, everyone! Kate Smith here, senior director of news with Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Thanks for coming back for the seventh installment of “Planned Parenthood Presents: The State of Abortion.” This week, we’re continuing to document the impact of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade with on-the-ground reports of the latest state laws and legal fights. We’re here to keep you informed so you can decide for yourself.
Over the past two months, we’ve focused extensively on the devastating public health consequences of abortion bans. But this week, we explored the economic and business impacts of these laws. Melissa Hobley, the global chief marketing officer of Tinder, one of the world’s biggest dating apps, said it was a “no-brainer” for companies to use their platforms to oppose abortion bans.
“It is a very big topic of conversation in corporate America,” Hobley said in an interview with Planned Parenthood. “We cannot even fully quantify how significant these new laws are going to be, and then what… that means for women who have been trying to progress in the workforce.”
Many companies, including Tinder, have become increasingly vocal about the impact of abortion bans on their business operations, especially in regard to talent acquisition and employee retention. Hobley said that some employees working in states have said they want to stay put and fight back against the new laws, while many others have said they want to leave.
“You also want these local governments to realize the economic impact of people choosing to leave their state,” Hobley said. “Not paying taxes in their state, not buying houses, not shopping at Walmart or Target or going to Chili’s. What are the implications of that?”
At Tinder, Hobley said employee benefits include all costs associated with getting an abortion, including hotel stays, childcare, meals in addition to all medical costs. Those benefits are run through the company’s health insurance provider, meaning that a manager or anyone at Tinder would never see or know that the employee used those services.
“And so, as it was in a pre-Roe world, where you would dialogue and interact directly with your health care provider, we won't know or see or have access to any of that private health care information,” Hobley said.
Those benefits, Hobley said, apply to everyone at Tinder, including employees who live in states where abortion has been banned.
New Data on Abortion-related Travel
As of this week, it’s been a little more than two months since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. But patients in some states were living with abortion bans and restrictions long before the end of Roe.
Thursday marked one year since Texas implemented Senate Bill 8, a six-week abortion ban. New data from Planned Parenthood confirms what we already knew: Abortion bans don’t stop patients from needing abortion services, they only make care harder to access.
From when the Texas ban was implemented in September 2021 through June 2022, Planned Parenthood health centers in surrounding states saw a 550% spike in patients from Texas compared to the previous year.
In Kansas, Planned Parenthood health centers saw 400 abortion patients from Texas in that time frame. That’s up from less than 10 patients the year prior.
Data from Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma during those same time frames tell similar stories. In Colorado, Planned Parenthood health centers reported 10 times the number of Texas abortion patients. And in New Mexico, Texans accounted for 41% of abortion patients at Planned Parenthood health centers, up from 19%.
For most of the time when this data was collected, Texas was the only state to have a six-week abortion ban in place — at the time, the strictest in the nation. But as of Wednesday, sixteen states had abortion bans in place, and eleven, including Texas, have outlawed it at all stages of pregnancy. Meaning that those out-of-state patient numbers are poised to go even higher.
Last week, we told you how Oregon is preparing for that reality, especially in the wake of Idaho’s total abortion ban.
California is also moving to try and help those patients, as well. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders introduced an amendment to the state budget that would allow out-of-state abortion patients access to a pool of $20 million to assist in travel costs.
On Thursday evening, lawmakers advanced the amendment, sending it to Gov. Newsom’s desk to be signed into law.
The amendment was one of more than a dozen pieces of state legislation aimed at protecting abortion access, one of the most comprehensive legislative packages supporting abortion access ever to be put into law.
On Tuesday evening, the South Carolina house advanced a near-total abortion ban after initially failing to advance an even stricter ban.
After an entire day of testimony, the South Carolina House voted 47-55 on House Bill 5399, which would have entirely banned abortion and only included an exception if the patient’s life was at risk.
After the failed vote, anti-abortion rights lawmakers literally refused to adjourn. Instead, those politicians forced an amendment to the legislation, allowing patients to seek an abortion if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, but only in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and only if the assault was reported to law enforcement.
With that limited exception in place, 20 lawmakers flipped their positions, advancing the legislation out of the House in a 67-38 voice vote.
Mason Hickman, a digital state campaign manager at Planned Parenthood Action Fund, was on the ground and described the whiplash afternoon:
“The energy in the room was tenacity, which was distinctive, yet familiar. Growing up in Ohio, I knew what it meant: Activists had seen this fight before. Like myself, they were accustomed to being written off by a country that had all but forgotten the critical battle for abortion access in the South and Midwest.
"Whenever I hear people say, 'Oh, that's the South, they're gonna always be backwards,' I think about the vast majority of people of color and where they live … and that also happens to be the South," Courtney, a volunteer crowd marshal, told me. "When you give up on the South, you're giving up on people of color, and that's not okay with me."
The South and Midwest aren't a forgone conclusion. If Kansas taught us anything, it's that we're paving the way in the fight to reclaim our rights.”
South Carolina’s amended near-total abortion ban now heads to the state Senate, where it’s expected to be debated after Labor Day.
On Tuesday, abortion rights groups and providers filed a lawsuit against Indiana’s Senate Bill 1, the state’s recently passed near-total abortion ban, on the grounds that it violates the state Constitution.
As it stands, S.B. 1 is scheduled to go into effect later this month.
After Indiana passed its near-total abortion ban, several companies headquartered in the state spoke out against the law, saying they anticipated it would impact talent acquisition and employee retention.