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In wake of Texas passing a strict abortion law, Salesforce is offering to help employees leave state

Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff spoke during a news conference, in Indianapolis, on May 16, 2019.Darron Cummings/Associated Press

In the latest fallout from a highly restrictive abortion law being implemented in Texas, the software company Salesforce is offering to help relocate employees in the state. Other businesses made similar pledges last week after the Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law.

Salesforce informed its thousands of employees via a Slack message late last week that if they were concerned about “access to reproductive healthcare,” the company would assist them in moving elsewhere, CNBC first reported.

In cities including San Antonio, there are already reports of abortion facilities halting the procedure out of fear of being sued by private citizens who disagree with the service and those who “aid and abet” abortion.


Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 into law this past May, and it equates to a near-total ban on abortions — barring the procedure after about six weeks, before many people know they are pregnant. Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court’s three liberal justice members — supporters of abortion rights — in dissenting, but the conservative-leaning court ultimately declined, in a 5-4 vote earlier this month, to block the Texas statute, though the ruling did not decide whether the law is constitutional or not, leaving the door open to further legal challenges.

The Justice Department sued Texas last Thursday over the law. The suit filed is asking a federal judge to declare that the law is invalid, “to enjoin its enforcement, and to protect the rights that Texas has violated.”

“This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans — whatever their politics or party — should fear,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. “If it prevails, it may become a model for action in other areas, by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.”


Meanwhile, Salesforce told its employees in the message late last week that these “are incredibly personal issues that directly impact many of us — especially women.” The message was obtained by CNBC. The company did not take a direct stance on the law, but offered its support to any employee in need.

“We recognize and respect that we all have deeply held and different perspectives. As a company, we stand with all of our women at Salesforce and everywhere,” the note continued. “With that being said, if you have concerns about access to reproductive healthcare in your state, Salesforce will help relocate you and members of your immediate family.”

Technology companies like Salesforce largely set the tone for remote work at the beginning of the pandemic. But now the industry is grappling with how to return to the office and whether it’s feasible as the Delta variant rages and employees have become accustomed to the lifestyle.

Several big-name companies including Apple and Google have pushed back return dates until next year, while CEO Marc Benioff said in June he expected that more than half of the company’s employees would continue to work from home in some capacity.

Salesforce has about 56,000 employees worldwide. On the company’s website, Dallas, Texas is listed as one of its 16 locations nationwide. It was established in 2017 and about 900 currently employees work at the office in the Lone Star State. Benioff affirmed the company’s decision to help relocate employees from Texas in a tweet on Friday.


”Ohana if you want to move we’ll help you exit TX,” Benioff wrote, using the Hawaiian term for family. “Your choice.”

Other companies have recently voiced their objections to the ban. Because drivers who transport Texans in need of an abortion to clinics or providers in the state could be sued by residents who take issue with the procedure, both Uber and Lyft announced they would cover the legal costs of their drivers if they found themselves in such a situation.

Meanwhile, both the Dallas-based Match and Austin-based Bumble — two highly popular dating apps — said they were creating funds to support those affected by the new law. And the web hosting company GoDaddy booted prolifewhistleblower.com — a site affiliated with Texas Right to Life — off its platform for violating its “terms of service.”

The city council in Portland, Ore., made headlines last week when Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement that the council would be voting on an emergency resolution that would ban the city government from purchasing goods or services from the state of Texas “until the unconstitutional ban on abortion is withdrawn or overturned in court.”

Portland officials said last Tuesday that the city’s plan to boycott services and goods from Texas could cost companies in the state “millions of dollars a year,” the Oregonian/Oregon Live reported. That vote has since been delayed while city officials determine what effect the ordinance would have on Portland, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported last Wednesday.


Salesforce has taken similar stances against controversial state laws in the past, including this past March, when it came out in opposition to Georgia passing a sweeping election bill.

“A person’s right to cast their ballot is the foundation of our democracy,” the company tweeted. “Georgia HB 531 would limit trustworthy, safe & equal access to voting by restricting early voting & eliminating provisional ballots. That’s why Salesforce opposes HB 531 as it stands.”

Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.