Eli Lilly turns on Indiana because it wants abortions for its employees

On Friday, Indiana enacted a law banning abortion except in cases of rape, incest, risk to the mother’s life, or a deadly fetal abnormality. One day later, Eli Lilly and Company, a pharmaceutical company founded in Indiana in 1876, announced that it no longer sees a future in Indiana because the lack of abortion access will harm its ability to obtain good employees.

The press release states as follows:

“Lilly recognizes that abortion is a divisive and deeply personal issue with no clear consensus among the citizens of Indiana. Despite this lack of agreement, Indiana has opted to quickly adopt one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States. We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly’s - and Indiana’s - ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world. While we have expanded our employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services unavailable locally, that may not be enough for some current and potential employees.

As a global company headquartered in Indianapolis for more than 145 years, we work hard to retain and attract thousands of people who are important drivers of our state’s economy. Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”

According to the Financial Times, Eli Lilly plans to continue to honor “current commitments” to Indiana, although it’s not entirely clear whether that means it will maintain the status quo and not grow, or if it will work to pull out of all operations there over time.

Image: Eli Lilly’s Indianapolis headquarters, ca 1919.

No matter how you look at it, this massive Big Pharma company just announced that, out of the entire population of people currently living in Indiana or willing to move to Indiana, it can no longer be assured that it will get good people if it doesn’t promise that its female employees can get rid of babies that might interfere with their employment. Or maybe that’s just a convenient lie. According to the Daily Mail, in April, David Ricks, Eli Lilly’s CEO was complaining about the quality of Indiana workers. Maybe this “FU” under the banner of abortion is just a virtue-signaling way to do what it wanted to do all along.

But on the subject of abortion, as conservatives have said, corporations aren’t interested in women’s reproductive rights; they’re interested in the corporate bottom line, and pregnant employees and mothers are expensive employees. At least Eli Lilly is being honest about it.

I’d love to add some wisdom or analysis here, but I really don’t know what to say beyond the obvious: In the pursuit of baby death, this company will jettison its 146-year relationship with the State of Indiana. There’s just no way to view this as anything other than morally distasteful, and that’s putting it mildly. 

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