State legislators passed abortion bans. These corporations sent checks.
The state of Texas did not wait for the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health to ban abortion. In May 2021, Texas enacted SB8, a ban on nearly all abortions. The legislation prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy — before many women know they were pregnant — and attaches a bounty to anyone who helped a woman obtain an abortion after that time.
The legislation took effect last September. The Supreme Court let it stay in place, the first clear sign the new majority was prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The elected officials behind Texas' abortion ban subsequently received financial support from major corporations, according to new campaign finance filings with the Texas Ethics Commission. Some donations come from the same corporations that purport to support their employees' reproductive rights by paying for out-of-state travel for abortions.
On June 24, the day of the Dobbs decision, Dallas-based AT&T announced it was "reimbursing travel expenses for medical procedures," including abortion. "The health of our employees and their families is important to our company," the company said.
Since the beginning of 2022, however, AT&T has donated $214,000 to the legislators behind Texas’ abortion bans. That includes $164,000 to 40 individual elected officials that supported the bans and $50,000 to the two committees — the Texas Republican Legislative Caucus and the Associated Republicans of Texas Campaign Fund — that elect anti-abortion candidates to the legislature.
Texas Representative Dustin Burrows (R) told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in May that he was proud to "champion" SB8. Burrows was also a vocal supporter of a separate "trigger" law, enacted in June 2021, that bans all abortion from the moment of fertilization with no exceptions for rape or incest. The trigger law will go into effect at the end of July.
AT&T donated $10,000 to Burrows on June 30.
On May 22, the company donated $5,000 to Texas Senator Bryan Hughes (R), who authored the SB8. Hughes also supports forcing rape victims to give birth. "If you're in a case like that, a terrible thing has happened, would we want to make that worse by taking the life of a child?" Hughes said in an interview with CBS News last September.
On April 21, AT&T donated $20,000 to Texas Lt. Governor and Senate President Dan Patrick (R). Patrick not only supported SB8 and the trigger law but is pushing for further restrictions on reproductive rights. Patrick's list of priorities for the upcoming legislative session includes "protecting the unborn."One proposal under discussion is penalties for companies that pay for out-of-state travel.
In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine (R) signed a bill banning abortion after about 6 weeks in 2019. The bill was put on hold by federal courts, but hours after the Dobbs decision, DeWine signed an executive order putting the law into effect. Shortly thereafter, a 10-year-old child abuse victim was forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana to receive an abortion. CVS Health did not donate to her campaign.
Now, DeWine reportedly supports even harsher restrictions on reproductive rights in Ohio. Representative Jean Schmidt (R) has introduced a bill in the Ohio legislature that would ban almost all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Schmidt's bill also "creates a new misdemeanor crime of 'promoting' abortion," which Schmidt suggested could be used against companies that pay for their employees to travel out of state for an abortion.
CVS Health, which operates 389 pharmacy stores in Ohio, says it supports its employees' right to choose by "making out-of-state abortion healthcare services more accessible and affordable." But the company donated $10,000 to DeWine's reelection campaign on June 3, 2022. DeWine's Democratic opponent, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, supports abortion rights.
CVS also supported the Texas Republicans behind the state's abortion ban by donating $20,000 to the Texas House Republican Caucus on February 9, 2022, and $20,000 to the Texas Senate Republican Caucus on March 1, 2022.
According to the New York Times, Wells Fargo told its employees “that the firm would expand its existing travel benefits for medical coverage to include imbursement for abortion travel ‘in accordane with applicable law” after Roe was overturned.
Since the beginning of 2022, however, Wells Fargo has donated a total of $68,500 to 18 public officials behind the state’s abortion ban.
On June 29, Wells Fargo donated $15,000 to Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan (R). A week before the donation, Phelan celebrated the Supreme Court overturning of Roe on Twitter, saying, “Today’s ruling is a massive victory for innocent, unborn life and marks the beginning of a new era in Texas.”
Last June, Phelan also cheered when legislators passed SB8. “Texas is pro-life!” Phelan tweeted, adding that he is “proud to have passed SB 8” and that [u]ntil abortion is outlawed across the board, we must continue to fight for the unborn and their right to life however we can.”
After Roe was overturned, Texas Senator Charles Schwertner (R), who co-sponsored SB 8, promised that “Texas will protect the sanctity of human life with our pro-life trigger law.” Wells Fargo donated $5,000 to Schwertner on June 30. Wells Fargo also donated $20,000 to Governor Greg Abbott (R), who signed SB8 into law, and $5,000 to Patrick.
In June, Ford said employees could use the heath savings accounts to reimburse themselves for transportation necessary to receive an abortion. “Our priority is simple: to make sure our employees and their families have access to the health care they need,” the company said,
Since the beginning of 2022, however, Ford has donated a total of $17,500 to 13 public officials behind abortion bans in Texas.
Ford gave Texas Representative Stephanie Klick (R) $500 on March 3. In January, Abbott endorsed Klick as “one of the state’s premier pro-life warriors.” Klick, who co-authored SB 8, received praise earlier this year from anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life for “pass[ing] laws that shut down Planned Parenthood clinics.”
Texas Representative Lacey Hull (R) celebrated the Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs on Twitter, stating “[t]oday our prayers have been answered.” Last year, Hull said she “was proud to join Gov Abbott as he signed PRO-LIFE VICTORIES,” including SB8, into law, adding that she “proudly coauthored these laws to protect baby Texans.” Ford donated $500 to Hull on March 1.
Ford also donated $5,000 to DeWine and $5,000 to Patrick.
In June, a spokesperson from Cigna told Connecticut Insider that the company “already offers our employees and their families travel reimbursement for certain health services and we are expanding that benefit to include abortion care, gender-affirming care, and behavioral health services in states where access is restricted.”
Since the beginning of 2022, however, Cigna has donated a total of $18,000 to 20 elected officials behind abortion bans in Texas.
Cigna has donated a total of $2,500 to Texas Representative Gary VanDeaver (R) since the start of 2022. VanDeaver praised the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe, calling it “truly historic for our country.” VanDeaver, who co-sponsored SB 8, also “spoke in favor” of taking Texas’ abortion ban even further. “[I]t is important that we realize that [Roe] does not bring final closure to the prolife issue,” stating that he is “committed” to “ensuring that every life is brought into this world.”
Cigna also donated $1,000 to Hull and $2,000 to Klick.
Other corporate contributors to Republican legislators and committees behind Texas’ abortion ban in 2022 include UnitedHealth ($17,000), Deloitte ($7,000), and T-Mobile ($5,500).