Chicago introduces directors in countries facing abortion restrictions

Following a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Chicago sent hundreds of letters Monday to Fortune 500 CEOs in countries facing abortion bans, presenting the city as a more pleasant location for their businesses.

The letter, signed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other civilian leaders, was mailed to about 300 executives in 25 countries imposing trigger bans, restricting access and criminalizing abortion. He warns that employees in these countries “can suffer” and see their lives turned upside down as a result of the decision to terminate a nearly 50-year-old constitutional right.

“When weighing the consequences facing your employees, customers and salespeople, we welcome the opportunity to highlight the ways in which Chicago remains a place of welcome for all,” the letter reads.

World Business Chicago, the city’s branch of public-private economic development, has launched a letter-writing campaign. This week, it buys a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal containing a copy of the letter, also signed by Michael Fassnacht, president and CEO of World Business Chicago, and Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments in names. President of the Economic Development Agency.

The Supreme Court decision on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade’s groundbreaking 1973 ruling, which, along with the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, delayed abortion protected by the 14th Amendment until the fetus was able to survive outside the womb. As abortion is no longer a constitutional right, states are free to accept their standards, with a wave of restrictions and definitive bans expected to severely restrict access for many women.

The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research organization that supports reproductive rights, is designing 26 states that are “certainly or likely to try to ban abortion” following a Supreme Court ruling, including such longtime competitors of Illinois companies such as Texas, Florida, Arizona, Kentucky , Wisconsin in Indiana.

Illinois is among about a dozen states that the Guttmacher Institute classifies as “protective” abortion rights. Current state regulations allow abortion until the fetus survives in 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy, with state plans for Medicaid and private health insurance required to cover the procedure.

Governor JB Pritzker called for a special legislative session this summer on Friday to increase legal protection for providers and potentially expand the types of health workers allowed to perform abortions as Illinois prepares for the expected influx of patients from abroad.

World Business Chicago is rudely promoting the proposed values, while countries vying with Illinois for the company’s headquarters are rushing to ban abortion, despite polls showing most Americans do not support Roe’s repeal against Wade.

“When companies or capital or talent decide where to start a career, where to relocate or expand, you have to consider the values ​​that the city and the state have, and that has to be part of the decision to choose a location. , ”Fassnacht said. “It’s not always just about low taxes, but about the value and climate in which your employees live.”

Last week, the Chicago area suffered its final corporate blow when hedge fund manager billionaire Ken Griffin announced he was moving the Citadel headquarters to Miami. Earlier this month, Caterpillar announced it would move its headquarters from the northern suburbs of Deerfield to Irving, Texas outside of Dallas.

Fassnacht declined to comment on the impending moves and urged employees of companies considering moving to countries with stricter abortion laws to speak out for themselves.

“I encourage employees working in companies who are considering where to build their business or relocate to raise their voice and make sure their CEOs know about their feelings so that they may feel uncomfortable moving to one of these countries which does not protect your rights. , ”Fassnacht said.

This isn’t the first time World Business Chicago has tried to take advantage of the implications of controversial legislation to lure businesses to relocate. In April, the agency in Florida, Texas and Arizona published full-page newspaper ads promoting Chicago inclusion, as those countries passed legislation targeting the LGBTQ + community, as critics of the Florida Education Act called it “Don’t Say Gay.” .

In September last year, World Business Chicago ran a full-page ad in Sunday morning news in Dallas urging businesses to head north after Texas passed restrictive abortion and voting legislation.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com

Elvira Parkinson

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