Abortion restrictions could impact Georgia’s economy

Atlanta companies review health benefits amid warnings of Roe v. Wade impact on businesses
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 11:24 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Abortion in Georgia isn’t just a political or social issue, according to Emory University Associate Professor Wes Longhofer. Longhofer warns it has also become a business issue.

“Companies don’t want to find themselves in these controversial debates, but there is increasing expectations,” said Longhofer.

Longhofer warned Georgia’s booming business could face a setback if the state passes a “heartbeat law” to make abortions illegal at six weeks of pregnancy.

“Employees are looking for companies to lean into social issues and look out for their interests,” he said. “You want to recruit talent? You want to bring business to Georgia? Those businesses – those outside businesses – and that talent is looking for what your stance is going to be.”

Some businesses have reacted to the ruling by reevaluating healthcare for their employees.

Josh Rossmeisl, founder of Atlanta-based entertainment company Your 3rd Spot, said his team is reviewing its benefits package to include support for employees whose access to abortion is jeopardized.

The company has employees across the country and is considering paid leave and travel and lodging reimbursement for team members who cannot access abortion care locally.

“They built our company. They’re growing our brand. They’re our everything,” said Rossmeisl. “If there’s a benefit they want, we’re going to explore that.”

Rossmeisl acknowledged the company’s strong stance might deter some customers, but strives to support his staff.

“If someone chooses to see what we’re doing and what this means to our team and hold that against our business, I’m not running after them,” he said.

Longhofer believes more companies will take similar action if Georgia’s “heartbeat bill” is passed.

Dozens of international corporations like Apple, Uber, and Netflix already offer benefits packages to help employees travel out of state for pregnancy-related procedures. However, this will not help most women impacted by the high court’s decision.

“The vast majority of women affected by restrictive policies don’t work for these companies whether that’s young women, low-income workers, contract workers, nonprofit employees, or state and federal employees,” said Longhofer.