When I was the director of the Women’s Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor, I was responsible for the development of policies and standards to safeguard the interests of working women.
What I’m watching happen in human resource departments of American corporations right now is certainly not in the interests of working women. It is political activism disguised as corporate policy, and it ought to insult every working woman, whomever they vote for.
Amazon, Disney, Bank of America, Kroger, Salesforce, and many others have announced they will pay for women to travel to get abortions, some up to $4,000. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly announced it would “be forced” by Indiana’s new pro-life laws to look outside the state for future hiring. Cummins, another Indiana-based company, added, “The right to make decisions regarding reproductive health ensures that women have the same opportunity as others to participate fully in our workforce.”
At surface level, this policy suggests that abortion will help women participate in the workforce. But what it really represents is a soft bigotry on the part of woke corporations, which are telling women they can’t have children and still succeed in their careers.
This raises the question: what sort of work culture are these companies creating, such that they think women need to abort their unborn children to succeed there?
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The policy of paying for abortion travel says a lot about the values of these companies, and whether they value their employees as anything more than cogs in a machine. One doesn’t need to explore the cynical financial incentives a corporation has to provide the one-off benefit of abortion travel—instead of expansive long-term benefits like paid family leave, child care, and family health care plans—to see the misogyny inherent in these policies. Who can forget the shocking revelation that Michael Bloomberg once told a female employee to “kill it” when she announced her pregnancy?
For years, women have proven they are able to lead Fortune 500 companies, invent products, get promotions, hold elected office, govern states, or serve on the Supreme Court just fine while having a family. There’s no need for a double standard.
I recall many people wondering, in the lead-up to Amy Coney Barrett‘s confirmation to the Supreme Court, how the Notre Dame law professor could be a mother to seven children and still keep up with the rigors of her legal career. Yet when Justice Antonin Scalia served on the Court, I never heard anyone wonder how he was able to be an effective father to nine during his tenure.
In May, Senator Tim Scott responded to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen‘s ignorant assertion that many black women need abortions in order to succeed and escape poverty. She said pregnancy “deprives them of the ability, often, to continue their education to later participate in the workforce.” Sen. Scott confidently replied, “I’ll just simply say that as a guy raised by a black woman in abject poverty, I am thankful to be here as a United States senator.”
Yellen’s poor logic should have prompted rage from all those who’ve fought to end discrimination in American life. Telling black women that they’ll need to end their child’s life in order to succeed isn’t just anti-woman bigotry, it’s racist.
Women don’t need to believe the lie that politicians—and now corporations—are telling them: that motherhood is a death sentence for a happy life and a stable career. On the contrary, I’ll take the smarts, worth ethic, tenacity, and E.Q. of a working mom any day over the woke elite sitting around in board rooms playing politics with the world’s greatest economy.
Everyone knows what’s going on here. This is partisan virtue signaling at its worst. Corporations once were a rare safe zone in American life for people of all political views to learn to live and work together. A subtle cultural revolution has slowly taken over our corporations, and it’s causing CEOs, board members, H.R. departments, and lobbyists to put aside their fiduciary responsibilities for the political sugar high of a left-wing culture war.
This isn’t just about abortion. It’s about politics. If corporate America is going to start a war on motherhood, it’s our job to fight back, and that begins with calling corporate abortion policy what it is: anti-women bigotry.
And for every woman who has come forward to say that they owe their careers or their success to their abortion, I have one message: you shouldn’t have had to.
LifeNews Note: Laurie Todd-Smith is the former Director of the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. She previously served as Education and Workforce Policy Advisor to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. This article originally appeared at Newsweek.