Media Contact

Rep. Ross: Meg MacLaren, [email protected]
Rep. Nickel: Matt Landini, [email protected]  
ACLU of North Carolina: Keisha Williams, [email protected]

August 25, 2023

From left: Rep. Wiley Nickel, Samantha Salkin, Rep. Deborah Ross, Kate Charland, Rebecca Couch, Sam Ratto. Not pictured: Ari Medoff, Pam Blondin. 

RALEIGH — On Friday, August 25, Representatives Deborah Ross (NC-02) and Wiley Nickel (NC-13) joined leaders from the ACLU of North Carolina and Wake County small business owners to discuss the impact of abortion bans on the business community and the future of abortion access in North Carolina. The discussion comes three months after the passage of SB 20, which bans abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy and adds additional barriers to access at all stages of pregnancy. One year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, North Carolina is one of the latest of twenty states across the country — including many surrounding states — that have banned abortion with a sweeping law that further decimates access to this essential health care not only for North Carolinians but for people across the South. This roundtable is the latest in a series of actions from business leaders in opposition to abortion bans which began with a press conference opposing SB 20 on the eve of the veto override vote. 

Since Roe was overturned, there have been devastating impacts of laws like SB 20 around the country. OBGYNs have seen increased morbidity, increased delays in care, and a worsening of pregnancy complications among their patients. Economic losses from existing abortion restrictions, including labor force impact and earnings, are already costing state economies across the nation an estimated $105 billion annually. Business leaders in North Carolina cited difficulty recruiting and maintaining talent and attracting out-of-state customers as major challenges they are facing in light of the new abortion ban. 

"Abortion bans are bad for our business," said Rebecca Couch, Chief Operating Officer of Trophy Brewing located in downtown Raleigh. "We are still recovering from economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new abortion ban makes North Carolina a less appealing place to visit and decreases our customer base, which cuts directly into our profits. In the hospitality industry we pride ourselves on creating a welcoming environment for our guests.  And here in the South we are known for our Southern Hospitality, but how can we offer hospitality in a place where people's own freedom and rights are being stripped away?" 

“The consequences of overturning Roe extend beyond health care – extreme abortion bans, like the one we now have in North Carolina, threaten the livelihood of our entire state,” said Congresswoman Ross. “Wake County and North Carolina are consistently ranked great places to start a business, but extreme policies deter both businesses and individuals from choosing our state as a place to live and work. After hearing from some of our wonderful business leaders today, I’m more committed than ever to fighting back against extreme policies that jeopardize the economic prosperity and well-being of North Carolina.” 

“In the year since the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, we’ve seen a push in Congress and in state legislatures to restrict access to abortion and criminalize women's health care decisions nationwide,” said Congressman Nickel. “Right here in North Carolina with SB 20, We’re already seeing how these deeply unpopular abortion bans are not only bad for individual freedom and access to reproductive health care, but also bad for the economy. Today’s roundtable discussion was a great opportunity to hear directly from Wake County’s small business owners about the negative impact that SB 20 is having on them and the overall economic well-being of North Carolinians. In Congress, I’ll always stand up for mainstream North Carolina values, fight for reproductive freedom, and continue the push to bring the Women’s Health Protection Act up for a vote to put the protections of Roe vs. Wade into federal law.” 

“This dangerous abortion ban is not only an affront to the essential health care North Carolinians need, it’s a blow to the economic well-being of our state. Extreme laws like SB 20 strip us of our fundamental rights, create uncertainty in the health care system and, most importantly, harm patients," said Samantha Salkin, Reproductive Freedom Advocacy Consultant for the ACLU of North Carolina. "And we have seen that what is bad for people is also bad for business. We’re glad to be joined by bold leaders in office who recognize both the human cost and the severe economic harms of banning abortion and will work toward a federal solution to make our vision for reproductive freedom a reality for every person regardless of their zip code."