After the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling Friday overturning Roe and Casey, corporations are scrambling to ensure their woke status and their financial gain by offering to pay employees’ travel expenses to obtain out-of-state abortions.
CNN Business published a list of 26 companies—and counting—which have promised to financially cover their employees’ abortion-related travel and expenses. The list includes tech giants Microsoft, Apple, and Meta; entertainment hubs like Disney and Netflix; and retailers like Starbucks, Nike, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Yelp co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman issued a statement Friday asserting, “This 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 workplaces since Roe.” Sara Kelly of Starbucks chimed in, “no matter where you live, or what you believe, we will always ensure you have access to quality healthcare.”
But some are questioning the good intentions of corporate America. Tucker Carlson pointed out the obvious: “Well, of course, employees without families are much cheaper for the company.” America is woefully behind the rest of the developed world in providing paid maternal and family leave. Federal law requires that companies over 50 people (among other stipulations) provide at least 12 weeks unpaid leave. Individual corporations are left to decide whether to allow any more, and whether to pay a woman during her leave. While a rare few—Netflix among them—actually guarantee up to a year off of paid time, most others hover around the three-to-four month mark.
And parental leave is only the beginning of the dollar signs that corporations might see when they think of the American family. Families cost more in terms of healthcare, for one. Corporations see working mothers in particular as a burden—mothers are more likely than fathers to take time off of work to care for a sick child or handle an emergency at home. They are also more likely to rate “flexibility” as something they value highly in the workplace, even more so than advancement opportunities.
Carlson is right: It is far easier, and cheaper, to pay for things like out-of-state abortions or egg-freezing than it is to pay for actual living, breathing human beings. Corporate America is no friend to the family. But corporate America also does itself a huge disservice, because research is beginning to come to light demonstrating the advantages that motherhood is to working women. Alissa Quart, in summarizing work from her book Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, found in her surveys and anecdotal experience alike that mothers reported their employment skills had actually improved after the birth of a child. She dug into the science and discovered a survey of 10,000 female academics demonstrating that mothers were more productive at work than women without children.
Other research has found that “motherhood enhances certain types of cognition, improves resistance to stress and sharpens some kinds of memory.” “The result” of pregnancy and motherhood, Craig Kinsley and Elizabeth Amory Meyer write, “is a different and in some ways better brain—or at least one capable of juggling the challenges of everyday life while maintaining a laserlike focus on the baby.” For men, the benefits of fatherhood have long been understood in the form of the “fatherhood premium,” the increase in earnings that men typically accrue after becoming fathers. The responsibilities of providing for others seems to motivate men in the workplace.
But corporations don’t see these benefits; they see the immediate costs and inconveniences. It is a deep irony and tragedy that such companies are now being praised for their egalitarianism. They deserve condemnation for their deeply rooted sexism and anti-family agenda.