Tech executives react to Roe v. Wade reversal: Gates, Sandberg, Wojcicki

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and outgoing Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg were among the notable tech executives who publicly spoke out on Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. The ruling ends the constitutional right to abortion in the US, which has existed since 1973.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and many otherwise politically outspoken venture capital investors have so far kept quiet about the ruling.

Elon Musk’s Twitter account, which currently has 99.5 million followers, featured a pinned tweet from May that read, “The birth rate in the US has been below the sustainable minimum level for about 50 years.”

In September 2021, Musk declined to discuss Texas’ strict abortion restrictions, saying he preferred to stay out of politics. Gov. Greg Abbott, however, said Tesla’s CEO backed his state’s “social policies” at the time. More recently, Musk said he would consider voting for Florida governor DeSantis as president. DeSantis plans to further restrict abortions in his state today.

The court’s expected reversal of Roe v. Wade gives states the power to enact their own abortion laws, including an outright ban on all surgical and drug abortions. According to an analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, a total of twenty-six states are expected to severely restrict, if not completely ban, abortion after the ruling.

Abortion bans in Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky and South Dakota went into effect immediately.

When abortion is not legal or available, people face health risks that can be fatal in some cases. For example, a 31-year-old dentist named Savita Halappanavar died of blood poisoning in Ireland in 2012 after she was refused an abortion during a miscarriage. After her death, a movement arose and Ireland later changed its laws to allow legal abortions.

Here’s what these tech execs said after the ruling was issued on Friday:

Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO

“I believe that CEOs have a responsibility to take care of their employees no matter what. Salesforce moves employees when they feel threatened or experience discrimination. For our Ohana, we always make sure you get the best benefits and care , and we will always always have your back. [heart emoji]†

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft –

“This is a sad day. Reversing Roe v. Wade is an unjust and unacceptable setback. And it puts the lives of women, especially the most disadvantaged, at risk.”

Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twilio –

“It’s a dark day in our nation’s history. Taking away this basic human right is disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable women across the country. Both I and Twilio support every woman’s right to choose.”

“Whether it is about gun safety, women’s rights or even electing officials with a majority of the vote, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the government to reflect the will of the majority. Often the vast majority. We need reforms.

“I believe the legitimacy of our government is beginning to be questioned. Between a perfectly Gerrymandered House, a Senate ruled by a filibuster-ready minority, and a Supreme Court whose moral authority is being eroded by eclipsed seats… It’s time for reform .”

Sheryl Sandberg, outgoing Meta COO:

On a public Facebook post:

“I grew up hearing stories from my mother about what women in our country went through before Roe. My mother had a friend who left the country to have a safe abortion. Most women couldn’t afford this; some had back alley abortions, which all too often led to serious health complications and sometimes even death.All women knew they could potentially face impossible choices between controlling their future and their health and breaking it of the law.

“I never thought my mother’s past would become my daughters’ future. I can’t believe I’ll be sending my three daughters to college with fewer rights than I had.

“The Supreme Court ruling puts the health and lives of millions of girls and women across the country at risk. It threatens to undo the progress women have made in the workplace and strip women of their economic power. make it more difficult for women to achieve anything and it will disproportionately affect women with the least resources.

“This is a huge setback. For ourselves, our daughters and each generation to come, we must keep up the fight. Together we must protect and expand access to abortion.”

Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp CEO –

“Today’s SCOTUS ruling puts women’s health at risk, denies them their human rights and threatens to dismantle the progress we’ve made toward gender equality in the workplace since Roe. Business leaders must now speak up and call on Congress to Roe into law.”

Susan Wojicki, YouTube CEO –

“As CEO, I recognize that there is a spectrum of opinions about the SCOTUS ruling these days. As a woman, it is a devastating setback. Personally, I believe that every woman should have a choice about how and when she wants to become a mother. Reproductive rights are human rights.”

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