April 1, 2023

Saturday’s announcement comes after Indiana’s governor signed a near-total ban on abortion Friday shortly after lawmakers approved it. The ban went into effect on September 15, including exceptions.

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly said it was concerned the law would affect its ability to attract “a diverse range of scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world.” With a market value of $292 billion, the company is one of Indiana’s largest employers, with more than 10,000 of its approximately 37,000 global employees in the state.

The company called abortion a “controversial and very personal issue” and said it had expanded coverage of its health plan to include travel for reproductive services not available locally. Many businesses have made similar adjustments since the U.S. Supreme Court declared abortion not a constitutional right in June.

Abortion rights supporters in Kansas celebrate after a constitutional amendment to end abortion protections was rejected. It was the first referendum since the Supreme Court struck down abortion rights at the federal level.Photo: Tammy Ljungblad/AP

But Eli Lilly said Saturday that such efforts “may not be enough for some current and potential employees,” according to the statement. “In light of this new law, we will be forced to plan for more job growth outside of this state.”

The statement also hinted that the law could broadly hurt talent acquisition in Indiana.

Cummins, which is also a major employer in Indiana, said it had shared concerns about the bill with state lawmakers before and during the legislative process. It says women should be empowered to make reproductive health care decisions and that this ability is important for equal opportunity and diversity in the workplace.

A Cummins spokesman said Saturday that the provisions in the law “impact our workforce, hinder our ability to attract and retain top talent, and influence our decisions as we continue to grow.” The company is worth about $31 billion and has about 60,000 employees, about 10,000 of them in Indiana, according to a spokesman.

Cummins also paid for travel for elective procedures, including reproductive health, the spokesman said.

Indiana was the first state to approve abortion restrictions following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling. If the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion was overturned, other states also began to implement the restrictions they imposed.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade raises new questions for employers about how (if any) to respond to decisions on company policy, whether to speak up, and what to say. Over the past few years, leaders of some of the country’s largest companies have become more vocal on a range of political and social issues, in part because they feel pressure from their employees.

Many companies across industries have said they will pay employees to travel for abortions or other procedures if they need to travel abroad, and some have expanded health insurance coverage related to abortion or reproductive health services.

Others have yet to arrange accommodation and say they have no plans to do so.

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce voiced its opposition to the state bill earlier this week, asking lawmakers not to pass it. The chamber has raised concerns about attracting and retaining workers in the state amid labor shortages, legal risks for doctors and infant and maternal health concerns.

“Over the past two weeks, the Indiana State Legislature has debated major policy changes on abortion in a short period of time. Such a rapid legislative process — eager to advance state policy on broad, complex issues — is at best Bad for Indians and reckless at worst,” the chamber said in a statement.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a statement after signing the bill, saying: “I personally stand up for everyone and bravely share their views in a debate that’s unlikely to stop anytime soon. Indians are the proudest.” He added that he would continue to “be vigilant”.

write to Emily Glazer emily.glazer@wsj.com

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