Over 180 companies say abortion ban is 'bad for business' - pro-lifers disagree

An abortion protestor holds up a model of a 12-week-old embryo at a separate demonstration in Belfast.Reuters

H&M and Ben and Jerry's are among over 180 companies that have signed an open letter calling abortion bans "bad for business". 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has also added his name to the letter published in The New York Times on Monday. 

The letter titled "Don't Ban Equality" says restrictions on abortion threaten the health of employees. 

It states that it is "time for companies to stand up for reproductive healthcare". 

"Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers," the letter reads.

"Simply put, it goes against our values and is bad for business."

It adds, "The future of gender equality hangs in the balance, putting our families, communities, businesses and the economy at risk." 

The letter follows moves in Alabama, Missouri and Georgia to ban abortions unless there is serious risk to the mother's health.

But pro-lifers have criticised the businesses for coming down on the side of abortion. 

Pro-Life Action League tweeted: "You know what's REALLY bad for business? Literally killing people. First comes moral suicide, followed by intellectual suicide, and then economic suicide."

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said: "How is protecting the inherent dignity of the human person from the moment of conception 'bad for business'?

"Perhaps the better question is what is the 'value' of human life to these business leaders?"

Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, said it was not "healthcare" to end the lives of unborn babies. 

"So it's 'better for business' to kill off future generations of customers? Murdering a child in the womb isn't, has never been, and will never be, 'healthcare,'" she said. 

Republican Senator Marco Rubio accused the businesses of double standards.

"170 CEOs sign letter calling abortion a 'human right' & condemning laws passed by democratically elected U.S. legislatures," he tweeted. "Ironically they have no problem doing business with serial human rights violating authoritarians all over the world."