- A Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect on Wednesday.
- Recent data revealed companies like AT&T gave over $US100,000 ($AU135,727) to primary sponsors of the bill.
- The companies have not yet commented on their stances on the abortion law.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect on Wednesday. It comes as the conservative-led Supreme Court is set to consider a case that could upend Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.
Recent data revealed that 86 companies in the Fortune 250 gave $US5.9 ($AU8) million to candidates seeking office in the Texas legislature in 2020, and seven of those companies gave over $US100,000 ($AU135,727) to sponsors of the abortion law.
On August 2, UltraViolet, an organization that fights to expand women’s rights, released an analysis of public data on corporate political spending in Texas. It reports that nine of the primary sponsors of SB8, the abortion law, received more than $US100,000 ($AU135,727) from corporations like AT&T and UnitedHealth Group. While those companies did not take a stand on the abortion law, their contributions were significant in electing the lawmakers who sponsored it.
Here are the seven companies that made the largest cumulative donations to the sponsors and cosponsors of SB8:
- AT&T: $US291,042 ($AU395,023), amounting to 53% of its total in-state donations
- Charter Communications: $US219,500 ($AU297,921), or 61% of its donations
- Berkshire Hathaway: $US128,550 ($AU174,477), 53% of total donations
- Exelon: $US124,000 ($AU168,301), or 56% of total donations
- UnitedHealth Group: $US121,000 ($AU164,230), or 53% of total donations
- Union Pacific: $US109,000 ($AU147,942), or 43% of total donations
- Chevron: $US105,500 ($AU143,192), or 50% of total donations
Six of the companies did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. Union Pacific told Insider in a statement it “has a history of giving to political candidates on both sides of the aisle in compliance with national and state rules.”
“We consider criteria beyond those that directly impact rail operations and business metrics when evaluating contributions, and we review our giving to all candidates annually,” it added.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law on May 19 to take effect on September 1, and while abortion clinics in Texas asked the US Supreme Court to block the law from taking effect, the Court failed to act on the emergency petition, allowing the law to go into effect.
One day after the law went into effect, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling rejecting the petition. Each of the liberal judges voted to accept the request in addition to conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, who called the law “unprecedented” and saying it “essentially delegated enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large.” Roberts was referring to the ‘vigilante economy’ Insider’s Bartie Scott reported on that the law created by awarding a minimum of $US10,000 ($AU13,573) to any private citizen who wins a lawsuit against someone who assisted a patient in receiving an abortion.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that the law “blatantly violates” Roe v. Wade, and it would “significantly impair” access to essential healthcare, especially for people of color and low income communities.