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Health Care Working & the Economy

Montgomery County pitches itself to businesses in states with abortion bans

The Montgomery County Executive Office Building in Rockville. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

By Kate Ryan

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) and local lawmakers have sent letters to businesses in states that have restricted abortion services, pitching Maryland as a place where companies and their employees would find a “welcoming, diverse and inclusionary place.”

Companies in Texas, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee were contacted.

“If there’s a chance that company leaders are exploring a move out of those states, we want to make sure that they know that Montgomery County is a place they can come to where we do value a woman’s right to choose,” Elrich said.

State Del. Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery), the House majority leader in Annapolis, joined Elrich during the county executive’s weekly briefing to discuss the effort.

“If I want to attract the best talent, if I want to attract the best programmers, I need to be in a place where those programmers feel comfortable living,” Luedtke said.

Luedtke was asked if the companies — which included Tesla, Dell Technologies, AT&T and others — had responded to the pitch. He said the letters had just gone out within the week but added that “many of these business leaders have expressed publicly opposition to the Supreme Court decision.”

Maryland codified the right to abortions in a ballot referendum three decades ago. More recently, Del. Ariana Kelly (D-Montgomery) was the lead sponsor of the Abortion Care Access Act, which was designed to expand the number of abortion care providers in the state.

Courting companies

The letters, sent last Wednesday, courted five large companies in Texas (Tesla, Match Corporation, Hewlett Packard, Dell, and AT&T), which had already made commitments to cover the cost associated with the interstate travel necessary to receive abortion care.

“Given Tesla’s devotion to your employees’ health, perhaps the most significant statement you could make in support of those who work for you would be to refuse to continue to locate your company’s headquarters in a state that bans abortions,” the letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated. “We understand the complexities of headquarters decisions dependent on a range of factors but ensuring that your employees can get the health care they need must be a high priority.”

The county leaders touted Montgomery as “a fantastic place to do business, with an excellent workforce, a strong business climate, and a real commitment to health care.”

The letters invited the companies who may be interested in moving to set up a meeting at any time with county leaders and economic development officials.

Five other letters were sent to health care companies in Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas (McKesson, Humana, HCA Healthcare, Cerner and Centene).

Maryland Matters Editor Danielle E. Gaines contributed to this report. 

As part of Maryland Matters’ content sharing agreement with WTOP, we feature this article from Kate Ryan. Click here for the WTOP News website.