How One CEO Speaking Out On Abortion Weighed the Risks

This is truly the age of CEO activism. More than 180 CEOs wrote a letter earlier today in The New York Times in proclaiming their support for the pro-choice movement amid a series of statewide legislations that restrict access to abortions.

While CEOs aren’t shying away these days from speaking out on controversial issues—guns, climate change, equal rights for LGBT and more, abortion, is a whole other ballgame.

The letter comes at a time when the country is split on subject of abortion—a 2018 Gallup poll found 48% of Americans identifying as pro choice and 48% pro-life. Compare that to 1995, when Gallup found 56% of the country identified as pro choice and just 33% pro life. Taking a stance on abortion in 2019—regardless of which side you fall on—will undoubtedly alienate someone.

…The irony, he says, is that Missouri courted ChowNow hard to open the office in Kansas City, only to see their effort undermined by the legislature. “Many of the states [with these laws] are struggling to create jobs and they are really going out of their way to court companies in California and Los Angeles,” he says. “If you want us to come, we have to bring our values and principles. We appreciate diversity of thought…but you can’t get our investment without getting our principles.”

His advice for CEOs speaking out on a controversial issue? Honesty and transparency are more important than keeping quiet. “Not everyone is going to agree with you, but as long as you stay by your principles, I don’t see the harm of being honest,” he says. “Share what you believe, the rest will fall in place.”


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