Abortion laws will affect how we do business

As readers will know, on May 9, the news journal Politico published a leaked version of the first draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, in the pending case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women. That opinion would repeal the 49-year-old Roe v. Wade unrestricted constitutional right of pregnant women to decide, during the first trimester of their pregnancy, whether to have abortions. Many experts believe that the final version of the opinion is likely to implement this repeal.

In response to the Dobbs leak and certain Texas legislation, several major corporations, including Amazon, Apple, Citigroup, Levi Straus and Lyft, have vowed to reimburse female employees for their travel expenses if the states in which they work for these companies do not permit abortions and if, as a result, these women, in order to obtain abortions, must travel to other states. The underlying belief of these companies is presumably that while the lives of fetuses are sacred, so too are the lives of pregnant women. These companies believe that until fetal viability, the balance favors pregnant women during the first trimester of their pregnancy.

For many individuals facing the issue, choosing how to determine this balance is agonizingly difficult, Before I became a business lawyer, I taught philosophy at Georgetown University. I’m familiar with the relevant philosophical arguments — i.e., arguments exclusively based on reason and experience. I can vouch for the fact that there are philosophical arguments, which many philosophers would consider to be reasonable, both for and against the pro-choice and pro-life views on how to strike this balance. However, as a business lawyer, I also know that the final Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, whatever it holds, will have an enormous impact on businesses in New Hampshire and nationwide and on any female employees they may have.

How would I, as a business lawyer, advise New Hampshire companies on how to respond to the Dobbs leak? I’d advise them to do nothing until the final Dobbs opinion is issued. But I’d also advise them to begin thinking even now about what a Roe repeal will mean for their businesses, for themselves as individuals, for their families, and, above all, for their female employees.


John Cunningham is a lawyer licensed to practice law in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He is of counsel to the law firm of McLane Middleton, P.A. Contact him at 856-7172 or [email protected] His website is llc199a.com. For access to all of his Law in the Marketplace columns, visit concordmonitor.com.

Law in the Marketplace is a legal advice column. It runs every week in the Sunday Business section. The author is a lawyer in Concord and not a member of the Monitor’s staff.