New Jersey tries a novel strategy to lure businesses: tout abortion protections Gov. Phil Murphy sent a letter to nearly 60 businesses suggesting they could expand into New Jersey because the state protects abortion rights.

New Jersey touts abortion protections to lure businesses

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

New Jersey is trying out a new strategy to attract business - touting the state's abortion protections. New Jersey's Democratic governor told corporate leaders that even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the right to an abortion will be protected in the Garden State. NPR's Joe Hernandez reports.

JOE HERNANDEZ, BYLINE: Governor Phil Murphy sent letters to nearly 60 CEOs, warning them that an expected Supreme Court decision could mean the end of abortion protections in the conservative states where they're located. Several have already passed significant limits on abortion even ahead of the ruling.

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PHIL MURPHY: We're never going to be a state that looks like Texas or Georgia or other states that are - Oklahoma - that are going in the direction of taking rights away from people. We are going to expand rights.

HERNANDEZ: In January, Murphy signed a bill enshrining the right to an abortion in New Jersey state law. He says the Supreme Court's expected ruling would harm women's bodily autonomy and could make it harder for companies to attract top female talent. But officials in some of the states Murphy singled out aren't so sure. Katie Byrd, a spokesperson for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, said Murphy wouldn't be making this kind of, quote, "desperate outreach" if business were booming in New Jersey. Murphy disagreed.

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MURPHY: Let me disavow that person of that concern. Business is booming in New Jersey.

HERNANDEZ: Murphy's argument is that New Jersey makes more than just business sense for these companies. It also means more freedoms for their workers.

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MURPHY: New Jersey's good value for money, so the math works. But also increasingly to those CEOs, they've got to take into account values - not just value, but values.

HERNANDEZ: Several companies, including the clothing giant Levi Strauss, have assured employees they'd reimburse them for traveling to get care such as abortions if it isn't available where they live. The Supreme Court's opinion in the case is expected in the coming weeks.

Joe Hernandez, NPR News.

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