Corporate America’s Abortion Radicalism

Source: The American Conservative

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. is reportedly considering leaving Indiana as the Hoosier state has decided to go forward with more abortion restrictions.

“Lilly recognizes that abortion is a divisive and deeply personal issue with no clear consensus among the citizens of Indiana,” the company said in a statement Saturday. “Despite this lack of agreement, Indiana has opted to quickly adopt one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States.”


Given Eli Lilly’s statement, you might think Indiana’s new abortion ban would be one of the toughest in the country, in line with other states like South Carolina, which is considering a near-total ban with exceptions only if the life of the mother is in danger. But Indiana’s new abortion ban that’s slated to take effect on Sept. 15 only restricts abortions after ten weeks. It includes carve outs to protect the life of the mother, and continues to allow abortions in the case of rape and incest. The Indiana legislature, however, decided not to go forward with a provision that would require women who get abortions under the rape and incest exemptions to sign a notarized affidavit of their claim.

Indiana’s new pro-life law would also require that abortions be performed in hospitals or outpatient centers owned by hospitals, which means all abortion clinics will lose their licenses and, thankfully, be forced out of the state. Doctors who perform illegal abortions or fail to file proper reports about the procedure will also lose their medical licenses.

“We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly’s — and Indiana’s — ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world,” Eli Lilly’s statement continued. “While we have expanded our employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services unavailable locally, that may not be enough for some current and potential employees.”

Read that again, and let it sink in. One of the most powerful companies in the world is openly pledging to circumvent the abortion laws in its home state by pledging to help women travel elsewhere to get abortions on the company’s dime. All in the name of ensuring that the killing of unborn babies continues unabated.

Eli Lilly has made quite the habit of going after kids. In one of the largest settlements in pharmaceutical-industry history, Eli Lilly had to pay out $1.42 billion after it pleaded guilty to pushing Zyprexa, an antipsychotic, for off-label uses in children and elderly dementia patients in 2009.


Eli Lilly is the second- or third-largest employer in Indianapolis with 10,400 employees working out of its headquarters there.

“As a global company headquartered in Indianapolis for more than 145 years, we work hard to retain and attract thousands of people who are important drivers of our state’s economy. Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state,” the Eli Lilly statement went on to say.

To a certain extent, Eli Lilly’s shift away from its conservative home state of Indianapolis in favor of the blue coasts has been going on for some time. The pharmaceutical giant has research and development outfits in New York City, San Francisco, and San Diego. It also recently announced a $700 million building project for a genetic-medicine facility in Boston. Nevertheless, Eli Lilly’s willingness to throw away almost 150 years of history, and replace or force large swaths of their workforce to move in the name of making sure women can kill their unborn child in the womb is a testament to the corporate sector’s left-wing radicalism.

For far too long, the conservative movement has been mystified at corporate America’s willingness to jump in bed with liberals. Liberals want to raise taxes and regulate the economy, conservatives thought. How could corporate America side with them? Initially, conservatives thought it was an aberration. Then conservatives started to talk about betrayal. But for a while, the strongest language we could muster in response was that these institutions have been hijacked by low-level millennials. 

Surely, there’s a bit of truth to the “hijacked” narrative. But the alliance between liberals and capital is much more fundamental. By encouraging the individual’s pursuit of the unbounded self, liberalism severs the ties that bind individuals to people and place. Marriage, family, community, and nation must all be radically redefined as nothing more than non-binding contracts the individual defines for himself.

But man, Plato reminds us, is “a being in search of meaning.” Trying to purge these traditional institutions of meaning does not not rid us of our natural impulse to pursue it. What’s left, then, to provide meaning, if life is but a series of self-conceived nugatory contracts?

In these circumstances, capitalism has an answer. If life is nothing but a series of contracts, then at least you get monetarily compensated for selling your labor, which can’t be said for arguably more difficult jobs, being a husband or a wife or a parent. 

Corporate America’s support for abortion isn’t just a matter of protecting its bottom line. Liberalism and capitalism are natural allies because both seek to free the individual from natural constraints, the former through rights, the latter through the pursuit of profit. 

No surprise, Eli Lilly found some support from the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. “Over the last two weeks, the Indiana General Assembly has debated a substantial policy change on the issue of abortion in a compressed timeframe,” a statement from the chamber said. “Such an expedited legislative process — rushing to advance state policy on broad, complex issues — is, at best, detrimental to Hoosiers, and at worst, reckless.”

This isn’t to say that conservatives shouldn’t care about free and fair markets. It’s the recognition that markets, like the rights that we enjoy while participating in them, are intermediate ends to a higher social good—the flourishing of human society. And babies, dare I say, are pretty important to that mission.