Cause and Effect

The Supreme Court’s just-completed term is one of the most consequential in memory – for the importance of the rulings and for changes that will affect how it operates and is perceived by Americans going forward.

Here’s what it means for businesses: 

  • The issues addressed during this SCOTUS term are likely to become increasingly politicized as the midterm elections approach.
  • The state abortion fight is changing daily, with some reproductive restrictions in effect and a few blocked. It’s hard for organizations, let alone individuals, to track what’s legal where. Innumerable legal challenges will complicate the landscape further.
  • Companies’ track records on a range of issues – political giving, worker treatment and rights, corporate charitable match offerings – will be closely scrutinized for perceived signs of hypocrisy. As abortion regulation moves to the states, stakeholders will likely look at political giving beyond federal-level PAC donations to state donations as well. Companies who announced employee abortion travel benefits and previously donated to the Republican Attorneys General Association— a key backer of the challenge to Roe vs. Wade— have been criticized.
  • Expect increased focus on the potential implications of the court’s Dobbs decision beyond abortion rights. Advocacy groups will band together on strategies and actions to safeguard other privacy-related protections—such as LGBTQIA+ rights and access to contraception—including from companies.
  • Data and personal privacy is a next frontier of this issue, especially for consumer-facing brands, technology companies and retailers. Consumers are increasingly concerned officials could seek their personal data – from private health data shared with apps to past purchases of contraceptive, pregnancy and menstrual products. Companies with sight into any of these forms of data will likely be asked to clarify their policies, and any company with relevant employee benefits policies may be asked about their willingness to comply with government information requests or subpoenas.
  • Corporate and HR policies may continue to evolve as new questions arise from new state-led policies. This could include a shift in expectations around work travel so pregnant employees won’t have to travel to or even through states with reproductive health restrictions, for example.
  • If the GOP wins back the House or the Senate in the midterm elections, it could pursue a federal abortion ban or other obstacles to accessing reproductive health services.