From today’s Forbes Magazine:
The possibility that the seminal abortion rights decision in Roe v. Wade could be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court carries significant and immediate implications for corporate leadership. CEOs and their boards might soon find themselves in the crosshairs of a highly public controversy involving vocal consumer sentiment, the interests of their workforce, and the perspectives of state government.
Of course, the pressure (and the opportunity) for corporate leaders to comment on leading social justice issues is no longer anything new. In an ESG-centric environment, many enterprises have been publicly engaging on a variety of social and political issues deemed relevant to their stakeholders. These have ranged from presidential transition, to gun control, to climate change, to LBGTQ rights, to public health and to gender and racial equality.
But the matter of abortion rights takes the question to a whole new level from a corporate governance perspective. The iconic status of Roe v. Wade potentially represents the “third rail” of corporate social justice dialogue. Directors cannot afford to approach the issue superficially. Their decisions must reflect an informed appreciation for the ferocity of the debate such as how deeply the right to an abortion is valued by one segment of the population, and opposed by another and the extent to which a right of privacy impacts its stakeholders.
Indeed, some corporations have already waded into the abortion debate. Yelp, for example, has offered to cover expenses for its employees and their spouses who must travel out of state for abortion access. But Roe’s possible overturn raises the social justice stakes, for which corporate leadership should be prepared. And, in this matter, preparation involves the need to balance a series of critical, and possibly competing, concerns.
Read the complete story here.