Business

Baker: Mass. may encourage companies in states that outlawed abortion to move here

Many American companies have pledged to help their employees pay for access to abortion services.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday he believes the state may "encourage" employers to relocate from states that outlawed abortion. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that the state may “encourage” employers headquartered in states that have effectively outlawed abortion to relocate to or expand their operations in the Bay State, The Boston Globe reported.

Massachusetts has some of the strongest abortion protections in the country, and state lawmakers are considering doing more to defend the right to an abortion through funding for reproductive healthcare access, State House News Service (SHNS) reported Monday.

“I do believe that having listened to and heard from a lot of companies over the course of the past several days about what this decision means with respect to their workforces and their benefit plans, that there may in fact be a big opportunity here for Massachusetts to encourage some employers to either come here or expand their footprint here, as we are a state that takes this issue seriously,” Baker said.

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Baker told reporters Monday he has been keeping track of American companies whose leaders have assured employees their company would reimburse or pay for travel to other states to get an abortion, the Globe reported.

Many companies have made such pledges since last month when a leaked version of the Supreme Court decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization indicated that the court would overturn Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion.

Now that that has happened, many large companies, such as The Walt Disney Co., Facebook parent Meta, Bank of America, Starbucks, and Apple have made such promises.

Over a dozen states, such as Texas, Utah, and Louisiana, had trigger laws that either entirely or largely banned abortion as soon as Roe v. Wade was overturned.

In contrast, Baker, one of the few pro-choice republican leaders left, signed an executive order Friday that he said is meant to shield reproductive healthcare providers who serve people from outside Massachusetts.

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The order prohibits executive state agencies from helping another state investigate a person or group for receiving or performing abortions that are legal in Massachusetts and from extraditing those patients or providers.

The order also prevents Massachusetts abortion providers from losing their professional licenses or receiving professional discipline for out-of-state charges related to providing abortions.

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“We obviously spent the time between the time of [the leaked Supreme Court ruling] draft and the issuance of the ultimate decision coming up with a plan that would . . . provide relief to people who came here from other states seeking those services safe,” Baker said.

Business groups have praised Baker’s executive order, highlighted their opposition to the Supreme Court ruling, and applauded employers for taking action to ensure their employees can still access abortions, the Globe reported.

Jesse Mermell, a consultant who formerly worked as an adviser to former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and as a senior leader at the state’s Planned Parenthood League, told the Globe that Massachusetts has been attracting employers and workers with its progressive state policies like a higher minimum wage, paid family leave, and earned sick time for a long time.

“We know that states that have policies that support workers and support families attract employers and attract employees,” Mermell told the Globe. “Employers already want to come here for that . . . I have every reason to believe that abortion will be on the radar screen for major companies.”

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