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Abortion restrictions could affect Georgia’s economy

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Abortion restrictions could affect Georgia’s economy

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) — Abortion in Georgia isn’t just a political or social issue, according to Emory University associate professor Wes Longhofer. Longhofer warns that it has also become a business problem.

“Companies don’t want to find themselves caught up in these controversial debates, but expectations are rising,” Longhofer said.

Longhofer warned that Georgia’s booming business could suffer a setback if the state passes a “heartbeat law” making abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy illegal.

“People are looking for companies that care about social issues and represent their interests,” he said. “You want to recruit talent? Do you want to bring business to Georgia? These companies – these outside companies – and this talent are looking for your attitude.”

Some companies have responded to the ruling by reassessing the healthcare provided to their employees.

Josh Rossmeisl, founder of Atlanta-based entertainment company Your 3rd Spot, said his team is reviewing its benefits package to include support for employees whose access to abortion is at risk.

The company has employees across the country and is considering paid leave and travel and lodging reimbursements for team members who cannot access local abortion treatments.

“You built our company. You build our brand. They are our be-all and end-all,” said Rossmeisl. “If there’s an advantage they want, we’ll investigate that.”

Rossmeisl acknowledged the company’s strong stance might put some customers off, but is trying hard to support its employees.

“If someone decides to look at what we’re doing and what that means for our team and that’s against our business, I don’t chase them,” he said.

Longhofer believes more companies will take similar action if Georgia’s Heartbeat Bill is passed.

Dozens of international companies such as Apple, Uber and Netflix are already offering benefit packages to help employees travel abroad for pregnancy-related procedures. However, this will not help most of the women affected by the Supreme Court decision.

“The vast majority of women affected by restrictive policies do not work for these companies, whether they are young women, low-income workers, contract workers, non-profit workers, or state and federal employees,” Longhofer said.