AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Forty Texas companies and business leaders are entering the fight against Texas’ abortion ban, filing a brief with the Texas Supreme Court that argues the “ambiguity” in the law’s medical exceptions cost the state an estimated $14.5 billion in lost revenue every year.
Austin-based dating app giant Bumble is leading the effort, submitting an amicus brief ahead of the high court’s arguments in Zurawski v. Texas. Lead plaintiff Amanda Zurawski is challenging the state’s abortion ban after she nearly died of sepsis due to a pregnancy complication. She says the Texas abortion ban’s medical exceptions are too vague, preventing her doctor from providing a medically necessary abortion until she had nearly died.
“We feel it’s our duty not just to provide our workforce with access to reproductive health care, but to speak out – and speak loudly – against the retrogression of women’s rights,” Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said. “Texas’s confusing medical exceptions increase business costs, drive away talent, and threaten workforce diversity and well-being.”
Dozens of other companies signed onto the brief, including South by Southwest, Zilker Properties, ATX Television Festival, and Central Presbyterian Church.
The brief cites research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) to arrive at their claim that Texas’ abortion ban costs the state nearly $15 billion annually. They assert that the ban translates to women earning less, taking more time off work, and leaving the workforce.
IWPR’s research estimates more than 80,000 women between 15 and 44 could enter the workforce without the abortion ban.
“An uncertain and confusing Texas regulatory environment is creating professional and personal difficulties for those who work and travel in Texas, as well as adversely impacting employee recruitment and retention, and creating obstacles for attracting new businesses, visitors and events,” law firm Reed Smith explained.
Supporters of Texas’ abortion ban argue the law does not preclude doctors from performing medically-necessary abortions. Rather, they say doctors are unfamiliar with the law’s exceptions.
“These stories are heartbreaking, they’re tragedies,” Texas Right to Life’s John Seago said. “Those kind of medical emergency situations clearly can be fixed by education… we have to fill in that gap to protect mothers and their children to make sure that our laws are actually protecting life, not jeopardizing life.”
The state will defend the abortion ban in front of the Texas Supreme Court on Nov. 28.