Michigan Democrats pitch to voters: Abortion ban is bad for business

Democrats across the country are increasingly concerned that anger over the loss of abortions in a dozen states will not be enough to push their candidates across the finish line in purple states like Michigan.Although eliminating roe A wave of energy was released on the left earlier this summer, carrying Abortion rights measures And those who support their victories in some primary elections, high inflation and other cost-of-living issues have dented voter enthusiasm for the Democratic candidate.

Whitmer now leads Republican rival Tudor Dixon by five points, down from 12 a month ago. According to 538Her race is shrinking despite polls showing strong support for including abortion rights in the state constitution, which is closely tied to her campaign.

With less than two weeks until Election Day, she, Joining Attorney General Dananesel and other Democrats, who voted in swing states, warned that if the amendment fails and the state’s long-dormant 1931 anti-abortion law goes into effect, workers will flee, leaving businesses — especially those in tech, healthcare and services — recruiting and retaining employees.

“I keep hearing from businesses that they’re feeling the effects of ‘she-cession,’ which means women leave the workplace during Covid,” she said. “If we want women to come back to the Michigan workplace, we’re most likely to Better not to deprive them of the right to be full citizens and make decisions about their own health care. That’s the risk here.”

Other Democrats across the country are promoting a similar message — using the final days of their campaigns to argue that abortion and finances are inextricably linked.

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said in a recent interview that protecting the right to terminate a pregnancy helps individuals make economic choices about their family size when inflation soars.California Governor Gavin Newsom bought a billboard In Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas this year trying to lure workers to his state, a “sanctuary” for abortion rights.

But Michigan candidates are testing broader messages about employers and where they can best recruit and invest.

“All you have to do is talk to any business owner in the state and they’ll tell you they don’t have enough people working for them. Everyone’s desperate,” the Rep. Alyssa Slotkin (D-Mich.) is battling for her swing district, she told POLITICO. “So, are we going to be an open-minded country that believes in equality and rights? Or are we going to be a backward-looking country? Businesses don’t like a backward-looking state. It doesn’t help them attract young people. Children who study at the University of Michigan for four years stay in the state after graduation.”

The Whitmer government points to data they’ve collected showing that a lack of affordable child care is a major reason why women struggle to rejoin the workforce — especially during a pandemic. Susan Corbyn, who leads the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, It added that protecting abortion rights would help stem the “brain drain” that has long plagued the state — graduates from top Michigan universities who go elsewhere to find better prospects.Whitmer has been pushing the message since at least this spring, when POLITICO obtained a draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court was poised to overturn roeshe has highlighted in interviews, presentations and forums with business leaders.

But Whitmer’s Republican challenger, Dixon, who expressed support for abortion restrictions and criticized the Michigan governor’s economic woes, dismissed the arguments as not serious.

“I think we can work on child care. We can work on family leave. We can work to reduce adoption costs — that’s also going to bring people to the state,” she told POLITICO. “But we can’t plan our economy based on abortion – we have to have a stronger plan than that.”

Dixon has worked hard to distance herself from the unpopularity of the state’s 1931 abortion law, arguing that voters can support her and a state ballot referendum that protects reproductive freedom. Polls suggest that many voters are likely to do so.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion groups that invested heavily in electing Dixon and defeating the abortion-rights ballot measure predicted that these stubborn economic propaganda from the Democratic Party would offend voters and sway results.

“This feels like a very ruthless thing,” said Christen Poirot, a spokesman for the Citizens’ Protection of Michigan Women and Children, which runs the Anti-Vote initiative. “These are really difficult situations that no one should take lightly, and women who say abortions are good for business – I don’t like that.”

But for business owners like Chris Andrews, Whitmer’s argument resonates.

Andrews, who founded Mitten Brewing in Grand Rapids in 2012 and oversees three brewery and restaurant locations, says his staff — who, like the rest of the hospitality industry, are overwhelmingly young and female — are very interested in The prospect of the state’s 1931 ban being reinstated was appalled.

“My employees tell me that this will heavily influence their decisions about where to move and start their careers,” he said. “It’s already a difficult situation to get young people back to work, but if Michigan becomes like Texas and other states known for restricting abortion, we’ll be exporting a lot of young talent and no solution to this problem.”

Andrews said most business owners he spoke with did not want to take a public stand on the issue for fear of alienating conservative clients — especially in his state, where the Republican powerhouse DeVos family owns considerable influence.

“It’s a bag of dynamite to light up for restaurateurs, but I think it’s absolutely necessary to recognize that this is an economic crisis brewing, and if those rights go away, the impact will be staggering,” he said.

although tension and division In the state, some business and labor groups have stepped in and publicly warned elected officials that anti-abortion policies could have economic repercussions.

“Abortion rights are certainly not a common chamber issue,” the Detroit Area Chamber of Commerce said earlier this year, “but as Michigan strives to attract tech talent — especially young talent — to meet the needs of our increasingly complex economy, Detroit The regional chamber of commerce urged Michigan lawmakers to consider economic competitiveness issues when discussing whether to ban the process.

In early October, the group Support Whitmerciting her work “ensuring Michigan’s competitiveness.”

The UAW, arguably the most influential union in the state, is also urge its members Re-elect Whitmer and pass the abortion rights vote.

“When people are able to make decisions about their reproductive health care, including whether and when to have children, they have more control over their health and financial security,” the UAW said.

Other labor groups, including the American Federation of Teachers of Michigan and the state’s AFL-CIO chapter, have support the referendum.

But Michigan’s Republican candidates and the anti-abortion groups that support them say they see little evidence that the fate of the state’s abortion law will have a major impact on the state’s economy.

They argue that while companies that employ thousands of workers have spoken out against the new restrictions in more than a dozen states, they have yet to act.

Titus Folks, the organizer of Student for Life, who led a team of student volunteers knocking on the door to defeat the referendum, pointed to a near-total abortion ban passed in neighboring Indiana this summer that is still in court.

“The Chamber of Commerce is against it, but no business has yet left the state or announced plans to do so,” Folks said. “Companies are willing to use this issue as a bargaining tool, and many are spending money to provide transportation for their employees [leave the state for an abortion], but nothing more. “

Other states banning abortion have seen little economic impact since June decision, other Democratic officials court companies centered on abortion rights fall to the ground. While several large companies have rolled out programs to help workers living in states that ban the process travel to states that retain access, no plans to relocate or cancel planned expansions have been announced.

Whitmer pointed out august statement Indiana-based pharma giant Eli Lilly has issued a warning that the state’s abortion ban will reduce their “ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world,” and said the company will not be able to access it because of the new law. “Will be forced to plan for more job growth outside of our homeland.”

When POLITICO asked whether Eli Lilly would consider investing in Michigan if the abortion rights referendum passed, the company declined to comment.

Still, Whitmer and other Democrats running this year believe they have a winning message as they try to keep the state’s executive branch and overturn the legislature for the first time in decades — in independent committees With the help of new maps drawn, many state House and Senate districts are more competitive.

Betsy Coffia, a former social worker and challenger to the leading Democratic state legislature in the Northwest Territories, told POLITICO that she has emphasized the economic consequences of abortion rights on the campaign trail, including at a recent candidate forum at her local chamber of commerce. .

Coffia — whose race “must win” in the state’s Democratic Party’s opinion — said the argument “gives land to people,” even for those who oppose abortion.

“My area is more remote and is already struggling to have enough doctors — especially obstetricians,” she said. “So if we ban abortion and drive more health care professionals out of the state, it could be a health care and economic disaster. We could really turn into a backwater.”

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