INDIANAPOLIS — A group of Hoosiers is raising questions ahead of Indiana's special session addressing abortion access at the end of the month, telling 13 Investigates they're concerned an abortion ban could be bad for Hoosier businesses and families.
The group said they plan on taking their concerns right to state leaders.
They call this a grassroots effort made up of Hoosiers across the political spectrum, from various industries in the state like tech, small business, education, health care and the legal profession.
Some 500 people and counting have signed on to a letter intended for Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and state lawmakers arguing against any new laws that would further restrict abortion in Indiana.
“Our individual contacts are saying ‘Yes, I’m concerned about this and I think this is bad for Indiana,” explained Tracy Betz, a partner at a local law firm and co-author of the letter who helped reach out to people.
“People have identified who their employers are and they’re putting that in the letter, and they understand that’s part of what we’re trying to do is send and a message to the governor and the Legislature that these are people that actually work here in Indiana and actually care about this,” Betz explained.
The open letter is set to be first published in The Indianapolis Business Journal on July 22, before being delivered to Holcomb and lawmakers.
It says in part:
"We are Democrats, Republicans and independents. We are parents and grandparents, siblings, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors."
The letter goes on to say,
"We work across countless industries, including for some of Indiana's biggest companies. We form the backbone of the Indiana economy."
It also gives this warning:
"Companies and employees considering Indiana headquarters will look elsewhere and some of our best and brightest will relocate..."
Betz, who recruits for her law firm worries about the ability to attract new talent to the area if stricter abortion laws are passed.
“We all know that Indianapolis, to recruit and retain these types of individuals and professionals, we have to be able to show them that we’re a modern place where these young professionals want to live, grow and become leaders,” Betz said.
13News reached out to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy group, representing 25,000 members from businesses of all types and sizes.
We wanted to know their position on the upcoming special session where the future of abortion access in Indiana will be decided and how they thought it could impact Indiana businesses.
President and CEO Kevin Brinegar issued the following statement:
“The Indiana Chamber does not have a formal position on abortion and will not take one unless proposed legislation infringes on employers’ rights to conduct business and establish benefit programs as they deem appropriate, as was attempted in the 2022 session regarding COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements.
Given that we are a membership organization, we generally only take positions on business issues and when there is strong consensus among our membership base or representative leadership group. Like much of the state, our members have differing viewpoints on social issues, which leads us to not weigh in on those.”
Betz said those who signed the letter, were doing so as individuals, but that many listed where they worked and what they did for a living.
“These include people at Eli Lilly, that includes people of IU Health. We have asked them at Roche, places like that,” Betz explained.
13News reached out to Eli Lilly to ask if they thought stricter abortion laws in Indiana could impact the ability of companies to recruit new talent. They declined to comment.
Roche Diagnostics also declined to comment, as well as Elanco Animal Health based in Greenfield.
Cummins Inc issued a statement that said:
“Cummins is committed to providing employees and their families with equitable access to high-quality, affordable healthcare, regardless of where they live. Cummins is committed to supporting the ability of employees and their families to make healthcare decisions based on what they believe is right for them.
Cummins’ healthcare benefits cover elective reproductive health procedures, including medical travel benefits. If a patient is required to travel 30 miles or more to obtain covered services, our healthcare plan reimburses travel expenses.
We believe that women should have the right to make reproductive healthcare decisions as a matter of gender equity and the right to make decisions regarding reproductive health ensures that women have the same opportunity as others to participate fully in our workforce and that our workforce is diverse.
The right to make decisions regarding reproductive health ensures that women in our communities can participate fully in the workforce.”
13News also reached out to Salesforce, Rolls Royce, and Elevance Health, but did not get a response.
The letter Betz helped co-author, also reminded the governor and lawmakers, “We vote.”
“I think it’s critical for the Legislature and governor to consider that these are people from all political parties, from all parts of the state, from all sectors in Indiana and they are saying, ‘We want our liberties protected and that means don’t make decisions for us about healthcare,’” said Betz.