On June 10, 2019 more than 180 business owners and CEOs, including Twitter’s, signed a letter, published as a full page ad in the New York Times, promoting abortion rights. Other companies included MAC Cosmetics, H&M and The Body Shop. One of these companies, called Seventh Generation, even sells baby care products! These companies employ more than 108,000 workers. The ad was placed under the banner, “DON’T BAN EQUALITY: It’s Time for Companies to Stand Up for Reproductive Healthcare.”
This ad was puzzling since many of these corporations are not typically considered far-left organizations.
Ironically, it turns out that only two of these corporations are listed among the top 180 companies offering paid maternity leave for women. In other words, these companies are not really supporting women, but are, instead, protecting their own bottom line. This is because parental leave imposes a cost on these companies. The disruptions of time-off (even earned) for doctor’s appointments, managing morning sickness, and staying healthy during pregnancy are a drain on a company’s revenue. Many of these employers offer a bare minimum maternity leave. Others offer nothing at all.
For these companies, the math is simple. An employee having a baby means higher costs and less profit for the company. Abortion is a convenient way of minimizing these costs. In short, giving birth to babies is bad for business and abortion is good due to the fact that a female employee can terminate her pregnancy on a Saturday and return to work the following week.
Hence, the reality is that the companies listed in the ad are not there for altruistic, but, rather, for financial reasons. The companies are sending women a clear message by this ad. An abortion is good for business, and “health, independence, and ability to fully succeed in the workplace” is what really matters. That is, women are being encouraged to put their jobs above the lives of their unborn child. As the ad states, “Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers”. The ad continued, “Simply put, it goes against our values and is bad for business.”
As a result of this attitude, many pregnant, employed women suffer discrimination. This appears to be a pervasive problem in the Western world. In September 2018, the European Parliament warned about this difficulty in the workplace. A recent study in Spain found that 89% of female employees experienced employment discrimination because of pregnancy. The problem is that the inclusion of women into the labour force has been encouraged without taking into account the vital stages of women’s lives. All those women who want to be mothers are harmed when they experience serious harassment. During pregnancy, this can negatively affect their physical and psychological health.
The Link Between Our Cultural Values and Abortion
This controversial ad would not have been possible without changes that have taken place in our culture, which shapes our behaviour. Our Western culture today tells us that children are barriers to a happy life and personal fulfilment, which must include a successful career, material goods, and the luxury to live an affluent lifestyle, unburdened by family and childcare responsibilities.
Religion, which encourages families and children, is in decline. Recent research suggests that some of the recovery of fertility and decrease in abortions in Eastern Europe in recent years may be due to a “retraditionalization” of values and religion. Basically, as Eastern Europe has broken away from the expected path of progressive change toward secularism and individuality, after decades of Soviet repression, its fertility rate has risen. Attitudes and values matter.