While a nationwide effort to pass abortion bans is underway in statehouses, six corporations have contributed nearly half a million dollars to the lawmakers leading the charge.
That’s according to research conducted by journalist Judd Legum (former editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress) who reviewed campaign finance reports in six states where abortion bans have passed. In a recent post to his newsletter, Popular Info, Legum found that health insurer Aetna, telecoms giant AT&T, beverage manufacturer Coca-Cola, pharmaceutical manufacturers Eli Lilly and Pfizer, and retail behemoth Walmart all made generous contributions to the campaigns of Republicans pushing abortion bans.
To get his figures, Legum perused public campaign finance databases in the six states where state-level abortion bans have passed — Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio. He then matched corporate donations to the Republican state lawmakers who floated abortion bans, as well as Republican governors who then signed those abortion bans into law.
Among the six corporations Legum focused on, AT&T is the biggest funder of anti-abortion Republicans, donating $196,600 to anti-choice lawmakers and governors in all six of those states. Eli Lilly came in second, contributing $66,250 to anti-choice Republicans across five states. Walmart ranked third in financial support to Republicans trying to ban abortion, contributing $57,700 in all six states. Rounding out the list is Pfizer, which gave $53,650 in those six states, Coca-Cola, which gave $40,800 in five states, and Aetna, which donated $26,600 across four states.
While outlining corporate donations to anti-abortion Republicans, Judd Legum made sure to juxtapose those donations with statements issued by those corporations lauding women’s equality.
Walmart, for example, stated in a diversity and inclusion report that the company was making a commitment “to celebrating, developing and lifting up women around the world – both within the company and in the communities we serve.”
AT&T stated that it wanted to “make sure women at AT&T feel supported in everything they do.”
Pfizer, for its part, stated that “Investments in women’s health and gender equality must be prioritized to help create healthier communities worldwide.”
The abortion bans Republican lawmakers have forced through their respective statehouses are particularly strict in their curtailing of women’s reproductive rights. In the Alabama bill, lawmakers didn’t even include exceptions for women seeking abortions who had been raped, or who had been victims of incest. Georgia’s bill could potentially criminalize miscarriages, according to Georgia state representative Jen Jordan (D).
“I read it directly from a Georgia court case where the implications of prosecuting women for seeking abortions was laid out in no uncertain terms,” Rep. Jordan said of Georgia’s ban on abortions for women who have been pregnant for more than six weeks.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.