Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s decision to sign an unprecedented crackdown on abortion rights has been met with skepticism by legal experts, outrage by reproductive rights activists — and dead silence from the state’s largest corporations.
Walmart, UPS, Hewlett Packard, Amazon, Kroger, and Albertsons each declined to respond to multiple requests for comment on HB 242, a new law that makes it a felony to help minors leave the state to obtain an abortion without first receiving parental consent. Of the seven mega-corporations contacted by More Perfect Union, only Hewlett Packard Enterprise, an infotech company spun off from HP in 2015, offered a response:
“Our values as a company, as well as the significant impact derived from diversity and equity in the workplace, compel us to stand up for a woman’s unfettered right to care for her body and access health care services,” a spokesperson told MPU in an email. “We believe people of good will can disagree on matters of policy, and everyone is entitled to his or her personal beliefs. But, as a company, we must stand for unconditional inclusion and for the continual advancement of an equitable workplace.”
Exactly how such a stance will take shape was left unclear. More Perfect Union has requested further details.
With abortion outlawed entirely within the state of Idaho, the new law, which carries penalties of two to five years in prison, makes it virtually impossible for residents under the age of 18 to receive reproductive care. Another provision allows rapists responsible for a pregnancy to sue an abortion provider.
A legal opinion issued by the state’s attorney general last week also clarified that it was illegal for a healthcare professional to refer a patient to an out-of-state abortion provider.
The severe new restrictions also seemed to create a potential dilemma for the state’s highest-profile corporate denizens.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last May, Amazon, Walmart, HP, and Kroger each publicly pledged to cover the travel expenses of employees who could not obtain an abortion within 100 miles of their homes. In sparsely populated Idaho, those companies, along with UPS and Albertsons, hold significant sway over a disproportionate number of residents and their families.
HP and HPE each retain about 1000 workers in Idaho, Kroger has more than 3000 workers in the state, Amazon employs more than 4000 Idahoans, Walmart employs over 9000 across more than 100 retail locations. Albertsons, which is based in Boise, has somewhere between 3000 and 4000 employees across Idaho.
Planned Parenthood and several doctors in the state sued on Thursday to block the criminalization of abortion referral by medical providers, citing an unconstitutional restriction on free speech and state law overreach.
More Perfect Union will update this story if and when each company responds to our inquiry.