TEXAS — In the aftermath of the strictest abortion law in the country taking effect in Texas on Wednesday, a growing sentiment has emerged on social media encouraging people to boycott Texas-based businesses.
The same movement of people advocating boycotts is also encouraging musicians, theater companies and others to skip the Lone Star State.
In a Tweet by Megan Kelly Hall that has been shared more than 5,000 times, the author called on entertainers and athletes to skip Texas on various tours.
“Don’t bring money & business to a state that has put $10k bounties on women’s heads,” she wrote.
Known as the “heartbeat bill,” SB8 has been heavily criticized by abortion rights advocates because it limits abortion to 6 weeks — a time when many women may not know they’re pregnant yet. The bill aims to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, though most medical professionals consider this a misnomer, as a fetus doesn’t possess a fully-formed heart at six weeks gestation.
One of the unique and controversial features of the bill is that enforcement of the law falls to private citizens, not law enforcement or government institutions. As of Wednesday, any person around the country can sue anyone who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion,” not just the provider.
Proponents of a boycott hope that extreme economic pressure would convince lawmakers to reconsider the law. Historically, that hasn’t worked out the way boycotters have hoped.
Earlier this year, Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star game out of suburban Atlanta in a rebuke to Georgia’s new election rules that critics believe will make it harder to vote in the state’s urban areas.
The announcement by the baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, came after days of lobbying from civil rights groups and discussions with stakeholders like the Major League Baseball Players Association. The action was intended to put additional pressure on other organizations and corporations to consider pulling business out of Georgia, a move that both Republicans and Democrats in the state oppose despite fiercely disagreeing about the new voting law.
American Airlines and Dell Technologies voiced their opposition to the Texas version of voter suppression legislation, taking stands that major companies in Georgia like Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola declined to do until after the law there was passed. Republicans shrugged off that criticism, and the law went into effect on Wednesday.
As the #BoycottTexas hashtag continues to trend on Twitter, so too do lists of the many national and regional businesses that call Texas home. Some of the biggest include 7-11, American Airlines, Dell Technologies, Dr. Pepper, Exxon-Mobil, Frito Lay, Michaels Stores, Phillips 66, Pizza Hut, Southwest Airlines, Sysco, USAA, Valero, Whole Foods Market, and countless others.
So far, Texas businesses that stand to be affected by a boycott have been quiet, as have high-profile politicians such as Gov. Greg Abbott — though he has been vocal about the controversial abortion law.