AT&T donated to Republican Texas anti-abortion laws while celebrating "Women's Equality Day"

Toby Hazlewood

Are we willing to accept such double standards from corporations (and politicians)?

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A report from the website 'Popular Information', reported by the Houston Chronicle on September 8 shows that AT&T is amongst the corporate donors that sponsored Texan lawmakers bringing in the state's new abortion ban. The news comes just days after the telecoms giant held its annual 'Women's Equality Day' on August 26.

The irony.

The new law, which has been described by the United Nations as 'sex discrimination at its worst' took effect in September after Texas Governor Greg Abbott proposed the bill in May of this year. It prevents women from choosing to have a pregnancy aborted after around 6-weeks - when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected. Under the law, women are now denied the choice over whether a pregnancy should be carried to term, regardless of whether it results from incest or rape, or threatens the child or the mother's health.

Governor Abbott's solution to this? To supposedly do what nobody has ever managed to do before, and eliminate rapists making rape a thing of the past. Quite how this would be achieved is anyone's guess. It has drawn criticism on social media and in news outlets alike:

In addition to robbing women of choice, residents of the state are now incentivized to seek a bounty for turning in those who assist pregnant women in getting an abortion. The $10,000 bounty can be collected by filing a lawsuit.

What about corporate responsibility?

The Houston Chronicle reports that AT&T is one of biggest sponsors of those who've pushed through Texas' abortion ban, also known as SB 8. AT&T has donated $301,000 to the sponsors of SB 8 since 2018.

Other corporate donors to the sponsors of SB 8 include Charter Communications ($313,000), USAA ($152,000), Farmers Insurance ($120,000) and General Motors which donated $72,750 amongst many others according to data from the Texas Ethics Commission.

It begs the question whether each of these corporations (many of which make a good public show of being concerned over women's equality and women's rights) would actually be willing to advertise publicly their stance on specific issues such as abortion. How many of their customers and employees might be repulsed by association if they knew?

The President is cracking down

There may yet be hope for women in Texas (and other hardcore Republican-ruled states that have expressed a desire to follow the lead of Texas in introducing similar laws). On September 9 the Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Texas for its new abortion laws which he described as 'clearly unconstitutional'.

Those who are in favor of individual choice (as Texas has chosen to describe itself when referring to whether Texans should wear masks or get vaccinated, or for that matter to carry firearms without any training or registration) will hope that the Federal lawsuit succeeds in overturning the law and giving women the freedom of choice over their own bodies.

The corporations, like AT&T who've effectively sponsored these laws via their political donations may yet face a public relations challenge in distancing themselves from such unpopular legislation.

What do you think about the new laws in Texas? Do you believe that corporations have a responsibility to be consistent and considered in how corporate donations are made? Let me know in the comments section below.

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