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Major Indiana employers criticize state’s new abortion law

Aug. 6, 2022 Updated Sat., Aug. 6, 2022 at 8:34 p.m.

Eli Lilly and Co. world headquarters in Indianapolis.  (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE)
Eli Lilly and Co. world headquarters in Indianapolis. (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE)
By Lora Kelley New York Times

On Friday, the governor of Indiana signed into law a near-total abortion ban, making the state the first to approve sweeping new restrictions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

On Saturday morning, one of Indiana’s biggest employers, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, issued a strong objection to the restrictions. “Given this new law,” it said in a statement, “we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”

The company, which employs more than 10,000 people in Indiana, began by saying that “abortion is a divisive and deeply personal issue with no clear consensus among the citizens of Indiana.” It noted that Eli Lilly has expanded its employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services. But, it added, “that may not be enough for some current and potential employees.”

It was among the first major employers in the state to weigh in on the new law.

Shortly thereafter, Jon Mills, a spokesperson for Cummins, an engine company that employs about 10,000 people in Indiana, said, “The right to make decisions regarding reproductive health ensures that women have the same opportunity as others to participate fully in our workforce and that our workforce is diverse. There are provisions in the bill that conflict with this, impact our people and impede our ability to attract and retain top talent.” He added that Cummins’ health care benefits cover elective reproductive health procedures, including medical travel benefits.

Some companies with a large presence in Indiana have previously stated that they will cover travel for employees. In June, Kroger said that it would cover up to $4,000 in travel expenses for employees on its health care plan. Salesforce, a software company that has about 2,300 employees in Indianapolis, has also said it would move employees who want to leave states where abortion is banned.

In its statement, Eli Lilly said, “As a global company headquartered in Indianapolis for more than 145 years, we work hard to retain and attract thousands of people who are important drivers of our state’s economy. Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”

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