Major Indiana employer speaks out on state’s near-total abortion ban and vows to look outside state for ‘employment growth’

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly is headquartered in Indianapolis and employs more than 10,000 people in the state

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One of the largest employers in Indiana has threatened to “plan for more employment growth” outside the state after legislators enacted a near-total abortion ban on Friday night.

Pharmaceutical heavyweight Eli Lilly and Company, headquartered in Indiana, issued the statement after many Indiana businesses and leaders had been particularly reluctant to comment about the state’s stance on the issue.

“Lilly recognises that abortion is a divisive and deeply personal issue with no clear consensus among the citizens of Indiana,” the company said in a statement. “Despite this lack of agreement, Indiana has opted to quickly adopt one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States.

“We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly’s – and Indiana’s – ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world. While we have expanded our employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services unavailable locally, that may not be enough for some current and potential employees.

“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.”

Lilly employs about 10,500 people in Indiana among its almost 40,000-strong worldwide workforce in 18 countries. The company did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday from The Independent.

Notably, Politico’s Adam Wren added on Saturday morning: “Lilly consistently declined to comment on the legislation until the bill was signed.”

Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the newly restrictive abortion law on Friday after it passed without a single Democrat voting for it. The legislation bans abortion except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies and when the life of the pregnant person is in danger.

Before Lilly’s statement this weekend, many major Indiana employers had been reticent on the topic in a state with a Republican supermajority.

“You have to be careful politically not to make that supermajority angry. They have to walk a very careful tightrope with this,” Chad Kinsella, an associate professor of political science and director of the Bowen Center at Ball State University, told the Indianapolis Business Journal last month.

The Supreme Court in June overturned 1973’s Roe v Wade decision, which had federally safeguarded abortion rights, leaving the issue up to the states to decide. Legal wrangling remains in dozens of states, particularly those which sought to enact so-called trigger bans restricting the procedures as soon as the Supreme Court decision was handed down.

Indiana on Friday became the first to enact a near-total abortion ban, though some Republican state legislators believe the law did not go far enough and no exemptions should be allowed. The new legislation takes effect on 15 September.

Another major employer in the state, Indiana University Health, also released a statement Saturday following the Indiana legislature’s passing of the new regulations.

“At IU Health, we take seriously our responsibility to provide access to compassionate and safe, high-quality healthcare for anyone who needs it,” the employer said in a statement. “IU Health’s priority remains ensuring our physicians and patients have clarity when making decisions about pregnancy within the limits of the law.

“We will take the next few weeks to fully understand the terms of the new law and how to incorporate the changes into our medical practice to protect our providers and care for the people seeking reproductive healthcare.”

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