- A Chicago economic development agency and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot quickly mounted a full-court press touting its advantages to corporate executives and highlighting the city as a place that protects “the wellbeing of everyone who keeps our businesses thriving” just days after the Supreme Court’s June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson decision overruled the federal protections provided to those seeking abortions for 50 years by Roe v. Wade.
- World Business Chicago shot off 335 letters this week to Fortune 500 CEOs in states where the rights of people seeking reproductive health care, and medical professionals providing that care, were lost, according to a statement on the agency’s website.
- “As you weigh the repercussions facing your employees, customers and vendors, we welcome the opportunity to highlight the ways in which Chicago remains a welcoming city for all,” according to a June 27 letter addressed to an unnamed CEO signed by Lightfoot and World Business Chicago CEO Michael Fassnacht and posted on the agency’s website.
The economic development agency’s decision to press its advantage comes as economists have warned that the Dobbs decision will lead to sprawling logistical and worker retention challenges for CFOs and employers navigating a patchwork of regulations as they operate and vie for talent in multiple states.
Chicago is a city that has often been forced to fend off concerns from businesses about crime and high taxes. But in the wake of the Dobbs decision, Illinois is one of about a dozen states deemed “protective” of abortion rights by the Guttmacher Institute and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, has called for a special legislative session to increase legal protections for providers, according to a June 27 Chicago Tribune report.
The agency is shining a light on those protections. “This afternoon, we mailed a letter to 335 Fortune 500 CEOs in states where the rights of people seeking reproductive health care, and medical professionals providing that care were lost when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade,” Fassnacht wrote in a tweet earlier this week.
The initiative follows two recent high profile headquarters losses for Illinois. Last month Caterpillar said it was moving to Texas from Illinois and billionaire Ken Griffin is relocating his hedge fund Citadel to Miami from Chicago, The Wall Street Journal reported on June 23.
Chicago has a history of similar offensives pushes, including a 2021 “Dear Texas” campaign, which took aim at Texas’ restrictive voting laws and poor record on reproductive rights, according to its website.