Indiana’s top employers, Eli Lilly and Cummins, talk about the state’s new restrictive abortion law

Eli Lilly and Company’s drug manufacturing plant is pictured at 50 ImClone Drive in Branchburg, New Jersey, March 5, 2021.

Fresh Mike | Reuters

Drugmaker Eli Lilly, one of Indiana’s largest employers, said a new state law restricting abortions would cause the company to grow away from its native land.

Lilly said in a statement Saturday that she recognizes abortion as a “highly contentious and personal issue and there is no clear consensus among Indiana citizens.”

“Despite the lack of agreement, Indiana chose to swiftly adopt one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States,” said Eli Lilly. “We are concerned that this law will impede Lilly’s – and Indiana’s – ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world. Due to this new law, we will have to plan for further employment growth outside of our home state.”

The Indiana state legislature on Friday became the first in the country to pass new legislation restricting access to abortions since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The state was among the earliest Republican-run state legislatures to debate stricter abortion laws after a June Supreme Court ruling that removed constitutional protections for the procedure.

Lilly employs approximately 10,000 people in Indiana, having been headquartered in Indianapolis for more than 145 years.

Cummins, an engine maker that also employs about 10,000 people in Indiana, spoke out over the weekend against the new law as well.

“The right to make decisions related to reproductive health guarantees women the same opportunity as others to participate fully in our workforce and the diversity of our workforce,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

“There are provisions in the law that conflict with this, affect our employees, and impede our ability to attract and retain the best talent and influence our decisions as we continue to grow our footprint with an emphasis on choosing welcoming and inclusive environments,” a Cummins spokesperson said.

The two companies join a growing list of companies, including tech giant Apple and retailer Levi Strauss, that provide their employees with reproductive care resources in states where restrictions have been imposed.

Eli Lilly noted Saturday that although the drug company has expanded its employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services, “that may not be enough for some current and potential employees.”

Indiana’s abortion ban is expected to go into effect on September 15, and comes with some exceptions, including in cases of rape or incest, and to protect the mother’s life.

The administration of President Joe Biden also condemned Indiana’s decision. White House press secretary Karen-Jean-Pierre called it a “devastating move.”

“It’s another drastic step by Republican lawmakers to usurp women’s reproductive rights and freedom, and to put personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians, not women and their doctors,” she said in a statement.

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