Faith-Based Investors in Limbo as Apple Extends Benefits for Abortion Travel Costs

My Body, My Mind, My Decision

By Aaron Lee

As the US Supreme Court overturned the decision to support Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide, Saijel Kishan reported that faith-based investors are starting to divest their funds from companies that are openly planning to cover abortion travel costs for their employees. Although this left various investors in a predicament, companies like Apple, who have taken action, are also set to face problems in keeping their company financially stable amid the turbulence.

Apple’s Stance on Roe v. Wade Decision

Roe v. Wade was a landmark decision back in 1973 that granted women the right to terminate their pregnancies under the US constitution, but after nearly 50 years since it was established, the US Supreme Court has reversed its decision. It means the constitutional rights of millions of US women to have abortions safely and legally have ended. With this, over 26 states in the US are likely to ban abortions, and more than a quarter of abortion clinics are expected to close down.

In response to the abolition of legalized abortions in most states, Apple showed its support for women’s rights and reproductive health by extending their benefits to cover out-of-state travel costs for employees whose home state doesn’t permit abortion. In September 2021, Apple released an internal memo stating that they are monitoring the legal proceeding regarding abortion laws in Texas, which was already experiencing massive pushback, since Apple is a large employer in the city with a manufacturing plant and many Apple stores across the state.

According to Kishan, this stance may cause problems because Apple is part of the new exchange-traded investment fund that upholds the beliefs established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Socially Responsible Investing Guidelines. In this regulation, affiliated companies shouldn’t be involved with practices that support abortion and contraception. Aside from Apple, other huge companies like Facebook and Alphabet Inc. are part of the faith-based investment firm.

What This Could Mean for Apple

At this point, Apple will have to make compromises to stabilize financial investments while also considering the needs of its employees. Janet Yellen shared that in crisis leadership situations, leaders must recognize the importance of rapid responses to crises. During her time at the Federal Reserve, Yellen explained that repressing the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis in the US taught her to always be prepared and “study problems to death” especially in time-bound issues.

This indicates that the Roe v. Wade outcomes would require Apple to make immediate but careful decisions about the safety of its employees while also predicting the investment climate. Since investors are moving quickly to address the issue, Apple must act even quicker to reduce the impact of investors pulling out their finances from the company.

Our previous post also discussed how Apple employees are unionizing to urge the company to recognize and prioritize their labor rights. This shows how Apple employees are unwilling to settle if their needs aren’t met and will take the necessary legal action to ensure their protection. Apple chose to support abortion for its employees, so Apple may see a decrease in investment from faith-based investors in the future.

As Yellen also mentioned, leaders must make sacrifices for the sake of the organization, including its employees. As a multinational company, Apple’s stance on Roe v. Wade will certainly influence its reputation among consumers and investors alike. Their current decision will definitely affect how faith-based investors will perceive the company, but it will positively affect how women employees see the company as it supports women and reproductive rights.