Michigan Democrats Call on Voters: Abortion Bans Harm Business

There is growing concern among Democrats across the country that outrage over the loss of abortions in a dozen states is not enough to push their candidates to the finish line in purple states like Michigan. Although elimination Roe unleashed a wave of energy on the left earlier this summer, carrying measures relating to abortion rights and those who support them in winning some primaries, high inflation and other cost of living issues have dampened voters’ enthusiasm for Democratic candidates.

Whitmer is now 5 points ahead of GOP rival Tudor Dixon, up from 12 points a month ago. according to 538. Her race is narrowing down despite polls showing strong support for the introduction of abortion rights into the state’s constitution, to which she is closely linked to her campaign.

With less than two weeks before election day, she Along with Attorney General Dana Nessel and other Democrats voting in a swing state, they warn that workers will flee if the amendment fails and the long-dormant anti-abortion law of 1931 enters into force, making it difficult for companies – especially those in the technology, care sector health and services – to recruit and retain employees.

“I hear from companies all the time that they are feeling the burden of an” assignment “which means women are leaving the workplace during Covid, she said. “If we want women to go back to work in Michigan, we’d better not take away their right to be full citizens and make decisions about their own healthcare. This is at stake here.

Other Democrats across the country are spreading a similar message – using the final days of their campaigns to argue that abortion and financial problems are inextricably linked.

Hope for Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams said in a recent interview that protecting the right to abortion helps individuals make economic choices about their family size as inflation rises. California Governor Gavin Newsom I bought billboards this year in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas, trying to encourage workers to come to his state, the “sanctuary” of the right to abortion.

But Michigan applicants test the broader message to employers and where they can best recruit and invest.

“All you have to do is talk to any business owner in the state, and they’ll tell you there aren’t enough people for them. Everyone is desperate, ”said POLITICO representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Who struggles to stay in her swing district. “So, are we going to be an open-minded country that believes in equality and rights? Or maybe we will be a country looking back? Companies don’t like back states. It doesn’t help them attract young people. This does not encourage children who go to U of M for four years to stay in post-graduate state.

The Whitmer administration points out that the data it collects shows that the lack of affordable childcare is a major reason women are struggling to get back into the workforce – especially during a pandemic. Susan Corbin, who heads the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, He added that protecting abortion rights would help stem the “brain drain” that has long plagued the state – high school graduates in Michigan are leaving for better prospects elsewhere. This is the message that Whitmer had pushed since at least this spring, when POLITICO received a draft opinion indicating that the Supreme Court was ready to overturn Roeand one of them is highlighted in interviews, speeches and forums with business leaders.

But Whitmer’s Republican challenger, Dixon, who expressed support for abortion restrictions and criticized the governor for Michigan’s economic struggle, dismisses these arguments as frivolous.

“I think we can work on looking after children. We can work on family leave. We can work to make adoption cheaper – it will also bring people back to state, ”said POLITICO. “But we cannot plan our economic development based on abortions – we must have a more solid plan.”

Dixon tried to distance herself from the unpopularity of the 1931 state abortion law, arguing that voters could support both her and a state voting referendum that would protect reproductive freedom. Polls show that many voters can do just that.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion groups, which are investing heavily in Dixon’s election and overturning abortion laws, predict that these hard-hitting economic slogans from Democrats will offend voters and shift the results in their direction.

“I find it very heartless to say,” said Christen Pollo, spokesman for Citizens to Protect Michigan Women and Children, which is fighting the vote initiative. “These are really difficult situations that no one should take lightly, and saying that an abortion woman is good for business – I don’t like it.”

But for business owners like Chris Andrus, Whitmer’s argument resounds.

Andrus, who founded Mitten Brewing in Grand Rapids in 2012 and oversees three brewery and restaurant locations, said his employees – who, like the rest of the hospitality industry, are mostly young and female – are concerned about the prospect of a 1931 ban. year. come back to life.

“My employees have told me it will have a big impact on their decisions about where to move and start their careers,” he said. “It’s already a difficult landscape for young people to get back to work, but if Michigan becomes like Texas and other states known to have restricted abortion access, we will export a lot of young talent and there’s no getting around it.”

Andrus said most of the business owners he spoke to were reluctant to take a public stance on the matter for fear of alienating conservative customers – especially in his part of the state where the Republican DeVos family has considerable power.

“This is a bag of lit dynamite that restaurant owners can talk about, but I think it is absolutely necessary to recognize that this is an economic crisis and the consequences will be amazing if and when these rights go away,” he said.

Despite tensions and divisions in the state of the affair, some business and labor groups have stepped in and issued public warnings to elected officials that anti-abortion policies could have economic repercussions.

“Abortion rights are certainly no ordinary chamber of commerce problem,” the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce said earlier this year, “but as Michigan seeks to attract skilled talent – especially young talent – to meet the demands of our increasingly complex economy, the Regional Chamber of Commerce in Detroit urges Michigan lawmakers to consider the issue of economic competitiveness when debating whether to ban the procedure.

In early October, the group Whitmer approvedciting her work to “ensure Michigan’s competitiveness.”

United Auto Workers, arguably the union that has the most power in the state is also urging its members both re-elect Whitmer and pass the voting initiative on the right to abortion.

“When people are able to make decisions about their own reproductive health care, including whether and when to have children, they have greater control over their health and economic security,” said the UAW.

Other employee groups, including the American Michigan Teachers’ Federation and the state branch of the AFL-CIO, have: approved the referendum.

But Republican Michigan candidates and their backing anti-abortion groups say they see little, if any, evidence that the fate of state abortion law will significantly affect the economy.

While companies with thousands of employees have spoken out against the new restrictions in a dozen states, they say the companies have yet to take action.

Titus Folks, an organizer with the Students for Life group who leads teams of student volunteers who knock on doors to beat the referendum, pointed to neighboring Indiana, who passed a near-total ban on abortion this summer, which remains bound in court.

“The Chamber of Commerce has come out against it, but no company has yet exited the state or announced plans for it,” said Folks. “Companies are keen to use the issue as a bidding tool, and many spend money providing transportation to workers [leave the state for an abortion]but that’s about it. “

Other states that banned abortion have had few economic repercussions since the June decision, and other democratic officials’ efforts to engage in abortion rights fell flat. While several large corporations have implemented plans to help workers residing in states that have banned travel to a state that has retained access, none have yet announced plans to relocate or cancel planned expansion.

Whitmer pointed at August statement Indiana-based pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly issued a warning that the state’s abortion ban would reduce their “ability to attract a variety of scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world” and said the new law would make the company “have to plan for greater growth. employment outside our home state ”.

When POLITICO asked if Eli Lilly would consider investing in Michigan if the abortion rights referendum passed, the company declined to comment.

Even so, Whitmer and other Democrats attending this year believe they have a winning message as they try to retain the state’s executive power and reverse legislative power for the first time in decades – with the help of new maps drawn by an independent commission that has led many districts to The State and Senate are more competitive.

Betsy Coffia, a former social worker and contender for the Democratic State House in the Northwest District, told POLITICO that she emphasized the economic ramifications of abortion rights on the campaign path, including at a recent candidate forum hosted by her local chamber of commerce.

Coffia – whose race is regarded by the state’s Democratic Party as “must win” – says the argument “lands for the people,” even for those who oppose abortion.

“My neighborhood, which is more rural, is already struggling to provide enough doctors – especially obstetric gynecologists,” she said. “So it could be a health and economic disaster if we ban abortion and drive more health care workers out of the state. We could really turn into a backwater. “

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