You are currently viewing ‘Major shock’: The economic fallout from the abortion decision – POLITICO

‘Major shock’: The economic fallout from the abortion decision – POLITICO

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The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn decades of abortion precedent has created a slew of logistical, political and potentially legal challenges for corporations, including big Wall Street firms.

One of the most immediate issues what to do for employees who live and work in states poised to dramatically limit abortion access.

Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase were among the firms that already told employees they would cover travel expenses for employees seeking abortions who don’t have access near where they live. On Friday, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs said they would do the same.

WSJ’s David Benoit notes that the banks have employees spread throughout the country and several have been building up offices in states like Texas to limit their concentration in New York. That means some employees will have access to abortion and others won’t.

Among other companies that have weighed in, or made (or plan to make) similar policy changes: Starbucks, Amazon, Grubhub, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Disney, Meta, Tesla, Apple, Salesforce, Uber and Lyft.

Dick’s CEO Lauren Hobart in a statement Friday acknowledged the potential blowback. “We recognize people feel passionately about this topic — and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision,” she said, emphasizing that the company’s move was about making sure employees have the same access to care regardless of where they live.

Legal minefield — Legal experts warn that companies will have to navigate a patchwork of state laws and face potential lawsuits from states or anti-abortion advocates claiming the policies constitute aiding and abetting a crime.

“If you can sue me as a person for carrying your daughter across state lines, you can sue Amazon for paying for it,” Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois and expert on health care law, told Reuters’ Daniel Wiessner.

That’s to say nothing of the political blowback.

“When it comes to the range of politicized issues within the sphere of a brand’s impact, few are as divisive and deeply personal as abortion,” Mike Proulx, a vice president and research director at consumer research company Forrester, told NYTs Emma Goldberg and Lora Kelley.

That may explain why most companies have been silent on the issue — even ones that tend to speak out on social issues.

NATURAL EXPERIMENT — Economists have been studying the effect of abortion access for decades, but much of the research focuses on a narrow period in the early 1970s, after some states had legalized abortion, but before Roe made it the law of the land.

That natural experiment allowed researchers to compare the effect on women in states where abortion was legal and where it was not. Many of those studies concluded the Roe decision led to improved social and economic outcomes and “changed the arc of women’s lives,” as 154 economists wrote in Dobbs case","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"","_id":"00000181-a6e8-d1d9-a79f-afeec6650008","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-a6e8-d1d9-a79f-afeec6650009","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>an amicus brief in the Dobbs case.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs will provide another natural experiment in reverse, as abortion access is rolled back in some but not all states.

Caitlin Myers, a professor at Middlebury College who has studied abortion access, estimates that in states where abortion is banned — including many in the Deep South and Midwest — about a quarter of women seeking an abortion won’t be able to obtain one.

“We have a lot of evidence from the past 50 years to predict what happens when people can’t obtain abortions that they want,” she said. “Now, really, we have this major shock to access to measure what happens next and see if our predictions hold.”

Myers said she already plans to study what happens to access in states where abortion is still legal but where clinics are bracing for a huge influx of women from states with bans. (She’s working with students at Middlebury now to conduct surveys of appointment availability.) Another big question: To what extent will access to medication abortion mitigate the effects of travel distance?

Other important questions involve second-order effects, such as the direct costs on women (travel costs, time off work, paying out of pocket for procedures not covered by insurance) and their long-term implications, said Kate Bahn, chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Bahn has also previously studied how abortion restrictions affect women’s economic mobility.

“The role of economics research here is understanding how much this hurts people who can get pregnant,” Bahn said.

IT’S MONDAY — Make sure you join us tomorrow, June 28, on POLITICO Live for a Women Rule conversation on what’s ahead for the U.S. economy and how it will affect women’s livelihoods and economic well-being. You can register here to watch live. Confirmed speakers include Dana Peterson, chief economist at The Conference Board, and Tené Dolphin, executive director at the National Women’s Business Council.

Meantime, send us your questions, tips and story ideas: [email protected] and [email protected], or on Twitter @katedavidson and @aubreeeweaver.

Politico Women Rule virtual discussion on what’s ahead for women and the U.S. economy Tuesday … Economic Policy Institute virtual discussion on the “The Economics of Abortion” Tuesday … House Financial Services oversight subcommittee hearing on the housing market and private equity Tuesday …

Final first-quarter GDP data released Wednesday … Fed Chair Jerome Powell participates in a discussion with global central bankers at the European Central Bank Forum in Sintra, Portugal, Wednesday … House Financial Services hearing on long-term impacts of the hot housing market Wednesday … Personal consumption and inflation date released Thursday.

‘CLEAR SIGN OF REGULATORY PROGRESS’ ON CLIMATE, REPORT FINDS — U.S. financial regulators have collectively taken 230 steps since April 2021 to address the financial risks of climate change, according to a report released this morning from sustainable-finance nonprofit Ceres.

The group’s annual Climate Risk Scorecard provides a snapshot of climate-related efforts by U.S. financial agencies, including the Fed, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Treasury Department.

Among the key findings: All nine federal financial regulators have publicly affirmed climate as a systemic financial risk; made progress in identifying data they need to evaluate risks; AND designated staff to focus on climate issues, with all but one appointing senior staff. Several have also begun incorporating climate risk into supervisory activities, the report found.

HOUSE DEMOCRATS BLAST ROBINHOOD IN MEME STOCK REPORT — Our Katy O’Donnell: “Robinhood, the online brokerage that drew legions of small investors to the market during the pandemic, narrowly avoided default during the meme stock market frenzy in January 2021, House Democrats said Friday in a report.”

“Robinhood exhibited troubling business practices, inadequate risk management and a culture that prioritized rapid growth above stability” during the frenzy, Democratic staff concluded.

FROM THE G-7 LEADERS SUMMIT — Our Jonathan Lemire and Karl Mathiesen in Elmau, Germany: “The world’s wealthiest democracies on Sunday announced a $600 billion global infrastructure initiative to counter China’s push to exert political and commercial influence through massive investments across emerging economies. President Joe Biden was joined by other G-7 leaders in unveiling the group’s counterstrike at a summit in the German Alps.”

Also: G-7 bans Russian gold — Our David Herszenhorn in Germany: “The G7 economic powers will ban imports of Russian gold in a further tightening of the stranglehold Western nations have sought to impose in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine.”

OCC: BANKS GRAPPLING WITH RISKS FROM RUSSIA, TURNOVER — WSJ’s Mengqi Sun: “The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks and federal savings associations, said in its semiannual risk report published Thursday that banks have continued to navigate challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Geopolitical events, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, inflation and higher interest rates are posing more headwinds, the OCC said, but banks are financially strong enough to deal with the challenges.”

ONE MORE FOR 75 IN JULY — San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said she was prepared to support another 0.75 percentage-point rate increase at the central bank’s policy meeting next month, WSJ’s Nick Timiraos reported.

POWELL NEEDS LUCK OR, FAILING THAT, PAIN — Bloomberg’s Craig Torres and Matthew Boesler: “Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sees two possible paths for the economy and monetary policy over the next year: With some luck, inflation will cool with the help of more supply. And if that fails, the Fed won’t hesitate to impose a more painful solution.”

AN OMISSION IN FED FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES — NYT’s Jeanna Smialek: “The Federal Reserve did not disclose updated financial information for two former regional bank presidents whose trading ignited a scandal at the central bank, even though they held important monetary policy roles for most of 2021 — the year covered by a fresh set of disclosures released on Friday.”

RATE INCREASES PUSH UP U.S. BORROWING COSTS — WSJ’s Amara Omeokwe: “Government spending on net interest costs in the fiscal year that began last October totaled about $311 billion through May, a nearly 30% increase from the same period a year earlier, according to Treasury Department data. While the annual federal deficit has narrowed 79% this fiscal year, the higher borrowing costs are a rising government expenditure at a time when other federal spending is declining and tax revenue is increasing.”

BIS WARNS GLOBAL CENTRAL BANKS ON INFLATION — Our Joanna Treeck in Frankfurt: “Central banks around the world must act decisively to rein in inflation and avoid the global economy getting slammed by high prices and low growth, the Bank for International Settlements warned on Sunday.”

ABOUT THAT ECONOMIC TRANSITION — CNN’s Phil Mattingly: “Instead of managing an economy in the midst of a natural rotation away from recovery and into a stable period of growth, economic officials are analyzing and modeling worst-case scenarios like what the shock of gas prices hitting $200 per barrel may mean for the economy.”

“You don’t have to be a very sophisticated person to know how lines of presidential approval and gas prices go historically in the United States,” a senior White House official told CNN.

Blake Paulson, a career OCC official who briefly served as acting comptroller in 2021, is retiring, the agency announced. Paulson, who joined the agency in 1986 as a bank examiner, is the senior deputy comptroller for supervision risk and analysis, and served previously as the OCC’s chief operating officer.

Jay Gallagher, deputy comptroller for systemic risk identification support and specialty supervision, will take over Paulson’s role on an acting basis.

Sydney Menefee, senior deputy comptroller for midsize and community bank supervision, is also departing the agency, effective July 1.

Michel David-Weill, an investment banker and scion of the Lazard banking dynasty who helped shape Lazard into a powerful global banking institution before he was bought out in 2005, died on June 16 at his home in Manhattan. He was 89. — NYT’s Lora Kelley

Consumer sentiment fell to its lowest point on record, reflecting that elevated inflation is weighing on Americans’ moods and adding to indicators that point to a slowing in the world’s largest economy. — WSJ’s Bryan Mena

The first hints that consumer belt-tightening is passing through to corporate earnings are coming in, posing a bigger risk to U.S. equities than stock-selling by American households, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — Bloomberg’s Joanna Ossinger

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