Woke corporate America may pretend they are all about “social justice” and various progressive causes. But don’t be fooled: at the end of the day, none of it is about social justice. It’s about their bottom line.
This is clearer than ever now that the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade.
In recent days, in light of the ruling, many giants of corporate America announced they would reimburse employees seeking an abortion if they needed to travel out-of-state to obtain one.
Some, such as the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, claim they are doing this so their employees “can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them.”
Many legal experts have raised concerns that such selective benefits for employees are in fact a violation of American civil rights law. So why would corporations even risk it? For one simple reason: this latest round of corporate virtue signaling, like so many rounds before it, is all about padding corporate America’s bottom line.
That’s why I commend Andrea Lucas, a Commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the U.S. Department of Labor, for opening three probes against companies that have extended these abortion travel benefits. This is likely the first such effort in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
As the former head of the Women’s Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor, it’s obvious to me that it’s cheaper for large corporations to pay for their employees’ abortions rather than their maternity leave, or health insurance for their large and growing families.
It’s really quite simple. If your family has no children, or fewer children, it takes less money to provide them health insurance. In addition, women without children don’t need maternity leave. That’s weeks, probably even months, worth of labor that the corporation will no longer lose.
That’s why this latest wave of corporate virtue-signaling represents a perfect distillation of a woke ideology: publicly broadcast gestures of “compassion” and “progress” being used as smokescreens for what are in reality ice-cold financial calculations.
We shouldn’t be surprised by this. During this year’s “Pride Month,” American corporations re-branded their logos with the rainbow flag across their American and western social media accounts, but failed to do so for their Middle Eastern social media accounts. In short, they stood for what they claimed was right only in the places it was popular and, yes, profitable. In the places where it wasn’t, they were silent.
That’s moral courage for you. That’s the measure of corporate America’s collective commitment to their supposed principles.
Unfortunately, this is only part of a wider trend of corporations cutting back on both maternity and paternity leave. As the Wall Street Journal reported, while 53% of employers offered paid maternity leave beyond what is required by law in 2020, only 35% do so in 2022. Likewise, while 44% of employers offered paid paternity leave in 2020, that number has dropped to 27% in 2022.
The bad news is that corporate America appears to be full steam ahead on its current anti-family crusade.
The good news is that fewer people are falling for the hallow virtue signaling anymore. They understand its only purpose is to re-brand ruthless profit-seeking as socially conscious compassion. They recognize corporate America’s hypocrisy in claiming to be “pro-woman” while at the same time being anti-motherhood. At the end of the day, while such policies may boost short-term profits, they are actually bad for business. They are turning off a large segment of the American population, they ruin the work environment, and it is quite possible that extending benefits in such a selective way is illegal.
I’ve never met Commissioner Lucas at the EEOC, nor do I know which particular companies are facing a discrimination probe. But this isn’t about a specific company I have an issue with, or publicly stating support for a particular politician or friend. This is about supporting a government official who is focused on ensuring all U.S. corporations follow the law and do right by all women, not just some.
It is high time that commonsense Americans use every tool at our disposal to combat this woke corporate agenda that is not only anti-family and anti-woman, but openly discriminatory. While I commend Commissioner Lucas, the reality is that with the administration controlled by Democrats, it will be an uphill battle to initiate lawsuits as a result of these probes. Labor regulators across all 50 states must initiate similar probes, and ensure that American corporations in their states are not selectively extending benefits to only some women based on a pro-abortion agenda.
This is America, where we believe in the free market, and the right of companies to earn a profit for their shareholders. But we also believe in accountability, and fair rules of the road. Corporations have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to utilize their resources well, not selectively leverage them for political policies that benefit some of their workforce to the detriment of others.
Commissioner Lucas’ actions are a great first step toward such accountability.