‘Shocked’: Bill Gates, Entrepreneurs React to the Roe v. Wade Leak

The U.S. is facing a huge decision regarding abortion rights, and business owners are speaking out.

On Tuesday, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft of a Court decision suggesting that the Court will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that established the right for women to have an abortion. 

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the document, referring to a second decision that reaffirmed Roe. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Alito is referring to power in regard to legal abortions shifting from federal to state legislatures. In more than two dozen conservative states, lawmakers have prepared bills that would effectively outlaw abortion if the decision is overturned. If the Court embraces the opinion in the draft, it would clear the way for those bills to quickly become law.

It’s an important moment for employers, as many support their female employees’ decisions regarding their health care, including reproductive rights. Companies including Yelp, Salesforce, Citigroup and Bumble have already announced plans to help employees covering expenses for them their spouses to travel out of state for abortion care. It’s likely that if the ruling is overturned, other companies may follow suit.

Here’s how entrepreneurs and other business leaders are reacting on Twitter and elsewhere to the developing story:

Bill Gates

Billionaire Bill Gates, founder of the Redmond, Washington-based software giant Microsoft, was “shocked” by the news and says he supports a woman’s right to health care.

Reshma Saujani

Founder of Girls Who Code, a New York City organization seeking to increase the numbers of women in computer science, Reshma Saujani notes that businesses should get involved in the decision. She also offers advice to companies looking to help their female employees.

Arlan Hamilton

The outspoken founder of Los Angeles-based venture firm Backstage Capital re-shared a video of a valedictorian from her high-school alma mater taking a stand on women’s rights and sharing her own personal experience. Hamilton says she still can’t believe how brave this teenager was and is helping her pay for college.

Amanda Daering

The founder and CEO of Milwaukee-based recruiting firm Newance told Inc. that she’s trying to figure out the best way to provide space and support for those who are grieving this news.

“Working through grief and burnout only builds up what I consider to be energy debt, the kind of debt we pay for later in momentum and morale,” says Daering. She also says her company asked employees not to use Slack as a news channel about the events, because she wants teams to be “respectful of each other’s boundaries in how we each consume and process information as individuals.”

Rashmi Sinha

The founder of San Francisco-based SlideShare, a maker of professional content such as presentations, infographics, and documents, shared the decision and predicted that it was just the beginning of the fight for abortion rights.

Joanna Peña-Bickley

The founder and CEO of New York City-based Designed By Usk, a civic media and public service design cooperative, Joanna Peña-Bickley, is urging people to focus on the midterm elections. She also called for people to sign up to vote in order to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, federal legislation that, if passed, will protect the right to access abortion care throughout the U.S.

Shannon Watts

The founder of Lafayette, Louisiana-based Moms Demand, a grassroots movement seeking solutions to gun violence, put out a call for women to get more active in all forms of government, now more than ever.

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