Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz published an open letter Monday to women-owned businesses in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri, suggesting that Connecticut may offer a more hospitable climate for them in the wake of their states’ legislatures voting to either ban or sharply curtail abortion rights.
The letter from the two Democratic leaders is likely as much about domestic politics as a serious bid to coax businesses north to Connecticut, but a spokesman for the Department of Economic and Community Development said the agency will be directly contacting businesses in those states, most likely via email.
“Your state legislature’s recent decision to severely curb women’s reproductive rights is sending shockwaves across the country, including in the business world. Condemnation of this extreme measure has been swift and calls for corporate boycotts grow stronger by the day,” Lamont and Bysiewicz wrote. “This is clearly an issue that won’t be going away any time soon.”
Alabama passed a bill banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Georgia quickly followed. Missouri passed a measure that largely bans abortion after the eighth week of pregnancy. All three bills run afoul of the framework outlined by Roe v. Wade and seem geared to forcing a new review of abortion rights by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Colorado and Maryland banned government employees from traveling to Alabama for work-related projects, and Maryland’s comptroller announced a plan to divest its pension portfolio of investments in Alabama businesses.
The travel bans echo the action taken by former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2015, when Indiana passed a religious freedom bill that was seen as discriminatory to gays and lesbians. Indiana quickly revised the bill after major businesses threatened boycotts.
The three southern states have yet to show signs of revising the abortion bills, prompting Hollywood filmmakers to talk about boycotts, which could be costly in Georgia, a frequent location for filmmakers.
Lamont and Bysiewicz urged women in those states to look to Connecticut, promising relocation assistance and a state that has codified the protections of Roe v. Wade in state law.
“If you are as concerned as we are about this issue, we would urge you to relocate your operations to a state that supports the rights of women and whose actions and laws are unwavering in support of tolerance and inclusivity. In short, I urge you to come to Connecticut,” Lamont said.