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Major Indiana employers criticize state’s new abortion law

Written by Javed Iqbal

On Friday, Indiana’s governor signed a nearly total abortion ban, making the state the first to approve sweeping new restrictions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

On Saturday morning, one of Indiana’s largest employers, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, issued a strong objection to the new restrictions. “Given this new law,” it said in a statement, “we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside of our home state.”

The company, which employs more than 10,000 people in Indiana, began by saying that “abortion is a divisive and deeply personal issue with no clear consensus among Indiana residents.” It noted that Eli Lilly has expanded its employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services. But, it added, “that may not be enough for some current and potential employees.”

It was among the first large employers in the state to weigh in on the new law.

Soon after, Jon Mills, a spokesman for Cummins, an engine company that employs about 10,000 people in the state, said: “The right to make reproductive health decisions ensures that women have the same opportunity as others to participate fully in our workforce. and that our workforce is diverse. There are provisions in the bill that conflict with this, impact our people and hinder our ability to attract and retain top talent.” He added that Cummins’ health benefits cover elective reproductive health procedures, including medical travel benefits.

Mr. Mills also said that “before and during the legislative process, we shared our concerns about this legislation with the legislative leadership.”

Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical company that has its North American headquarters in Indianapolis, did not have an immediate comment. Other companies with headquarters or major offices in Indiana did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, few companies weighed directly into the ruling. Far more said they would extend their employer’s health care to cover travel and other expenses for employees who may need to seek out-of-state reproductive health care.

Some companies with a large presence in Indiana have previously said they will cover travel for employees. In June, Hooks said it would cover up to $4,000 in travel expenses for employees on its health plan. The software company Sales force, which has about 2,300 employees in Indianapolis, has also said it would relocate employees who want to leave states where abortion is banned. Neither immediately responded to a request for comment.

In its statement, Eli Lilly described the Indiana law as “one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States.” It continued: “As a global company headquartered in Indianapolis for more than 145 years, we work hard to retain and attract thousands of people who are important drivers of our state’s economy. Given this new law, we will be forced to plan more employment growth outside our home state.”

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Javed Iqbal

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