What impact will Ohio’s abortion stance have on workforce?
Governor DeWine, only months into office, just signed into law one of the most restrictive bills on abortion in the country. Many pro-choice groups will now be rallying to position against the state in court. It’s rather a newsy item for us, a quarterly magazine, but I bring it up because it will have major implications for our businesses for years to come.
As someone in the X Generation, you could say that I fall into the stereotype of being suspicious of things—or people—that hold substantial power over our lives. Unlike generations before us, my generation is not one to go march en masse on the National Mall to express our displeasure—we tend to maneuver away from the big show and settle into more personal conversations with those close to us.
I believe the big governmental overreaches are ones that my generation maneuvers to self correct, in our own way. One example to me is the Affordable Care Act. Some of us felt that this massive change to our health care swung too far, possibly too much into both employee and company wallets. Soon thereafter, you saw the political pendulum swing in the other other direction in the presidential election.
Have no doubt that our legislators’ choice to put abortion as a high priority displaces other major initiatives. Last year, Ohio ranked No. 15 overall in a CNBC’s study of top states for business. Not bad, yet we ranked No. 25 in the workforce category behind neighboring states Michigan and Pennsylvania. This means that these states were rated to have stronger programs for training individuals, and thus better employees for companies to hire.
If we could take the state’s legal fees over the next year—spent fighting issues like abortion—and give them to our community colleges, how many more students would be getting a leg up? Prioritizing issues like abortion will distort other efforts that aim to benefit business, as many will turn their focus to correct this reach over current federal law. Frankly, much energy will be spent just dealing with the aftermath. Beyond today, how many possible future employees will not like this choice and thus have less interest to stay here in Ohio?
My Gen X ways draw me to conclude that no political party can exclusively hold the license of being pro-business, especially if either positions passion above collective need and a more desirable climate that allows our businesses to succeed.