The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs vs. Jackson, which effectively removed abortion as a constitutional protection and allows each state to write its own laws, is already reverberating throughout corporate America and could have an impact on corporate real estate decisions. 

For one, states that have laws that are pro-choice will seek to lure companies from states that don’t, adding one more tool to the arsenal used in economic development contests. 

“…With abortion outlawed in 13 states, including Texas, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said businesses should reconsider setting up shop where their employees can’t access the full scope of reproductive health care. Next year’s state budget, set to be enacted this week, includes business incentives that give extra consideration to companies coming from states that discriminate against LGBTQ people and those that restrict abortion rights,” according to Politico

The article also said that “Democratic governors in states including Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey have made similar pitches to companies in red states, touting their own social programs and liberal policies as reasons they’re a great place to grow a business. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recently sent letters to businesses in Georgia and elsewhere, saying the ruling would hamper their ability to “attract and retain top female talent,” as first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.”

“The idea that a business would move to a blue state because of abortion access is ‘just nonsensical,’ said Christopher Thornberg, founder of Beacon Economics and an expert in economic forecasting who has advised both the California treasurer’s and controller’s offices in the Politico article. “Businesses don’t locate somewhere because of abortion access or not,” he said. “Where you locate is a function of 100 things, and that is such a trivial part of the conversation.”

But that could be changing. Unlike climate change, or voting rights,  abortion had been “the third rail” of political discussions in the corporate environment, according to Forbes. Now the discussions may be inescapable. 

“Like anything else social and political, there’s no middle ground anymore,” says Anthony Johndrow, who leads a reputation advisory firm that counsels businesses on engaging in such issues, in the article.  “Companies have found that to their chagrin, and it would be tough to find an issue that’s more emotionally loaded than this.”

The list of companies already saying they will provide travel benefits for employees who live in a state that limits access is large, and growing. 

According to Forbes, that list includes Apple, Airbnb, Dick’s Sporting Goods, JP Morgan Chase, and numerous others. 

Google has also told employees that they can relocate to states with abortion rights, according to a letter to employees published in

“To support Googlers and their dependents, our US benefits plan and health insurance covers out-of-state medical procedures that are not available where an employee lives and works. Googlers can also apply for relocation without justification, and those overseeing this process will be aware of the situation.”

It will always be a sensitive topic, and some companies may be more quiet in their reactions. 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported recently that “while many companies went public with abortion-support changes following the Dobbs ruling, others will quietly adapt their health care policies to accommodate abortion changes but remain mostly silent on the political questions raised by the court’s decision, according to Davia Temin, founder of crisis consultancy Temin and Co. Additionally, rather than speak out and risk a backlash, companies might let their in-house health care policies and perks do the talking as many corporate leaders are largely avoiding making statements on the issue so far, according to Brian Kropp, head of HR at advisory firm Gartner.”