Some worry abortion restrictions could be 'a real hurdle' for NC's economy

Elaina Athans Image
Friday, May 5, 2023
Some worry abortion restrictions could be 'hurdle' for NC's economy
Some liken potential new limits on abortion to the "Bathroom Bill" of a few years ago and are concerned about negative effects on the state's workforce and economy.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Small businesses account for nearly half of private employment in North Carolina, according to US Census data, and now some of those owners are bracing for a potential blow.

"This is a real hurdle for all of us," said Union Special Bread Owner Andrew Ullom.

He said it's been a tumultuous few years with the pandemic and inflation. Worries are turning to the controversial abortion legislation and its potential effect on the state's economy.

"We are still feeling the effects of what a post-COVID economy looks like and things that are restrictive that are like this are only going to compound those effects on business right now," Ullom said.

The legislation passed in the general assembly this week bans most abortions after 12 weeks instead of the current 20, though exceptions remain.

"Many of us who have worked for decades to save unborn babies for the sanctity of human life, we saw it as an opportunity to put forth a very pro-life, pro-woman legislation," said Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth, one of the primary sponsors of the bill, known as Senate Bill 20.

Go. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has vowed to veto the bill.

"They have dressed it up appear that is it a 12-week ban, but it really isn't. It is an obstacle course for women that's going to be very difficult for them to get through," he said.

Cooper said he is deeply concerned for a few reasons.

"You're seeing a flood of cultural legislation, and not only is that legislation bad in and of itself and hurts people like this abortion bill, but it hurts the reputation of our state," said Cooper.

Another conservative bill had a major effect a few years ago.

House Bill 2 or the so-called Bathroom Bill ended up costing North Carolina an estimated $3.67 billion in economic losses.

"Listen this is a repeat in many respects in what we went through with House Bill 2, and it has more ramifications and impact than just woman and their families. It potentially has an impact on business recruitment, retention and those kind of things," said Nexus Strategies Owner Scott Falmlen.

At the beginning of the year, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina CEO Chris Chung cautioned at a forum that a survey was done and warned that legislation on a divisive issue could hinder economic development.

"They risk alienating some of their customers, some of their investors," Chung said in January.

Business owners also worry that they could also lose some of their workers.

"We have one or two employees now that plan on moving out of North Carolina based on restrictive policy," said Ullom.