Cummins opposes Indiana abortion ban, warns of impact on future decisions


Cummins Inc. has spoken out against a near-total abortion ban passed by Indiana legislators and signed into law Friday, saying the restrictions could impact the company’s ability to attract and retain employees and will factor into decisions on where it decides to grow.

The statements from the Columbus-based company come after Indiana became the first state in the nation to approve such legislation since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 1973 landmark case that had protected the right to abortion nationwide, The Associated Press reported.

Cummins is the largest employer in Bartholomew County with about 8,000 employees in the Columbus area. The company also has about 1,000 more in Jackson County. Its global headquarters are in Columbus.

“We are deeply concerned about how this law impacts our people and impedes our ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce in Indiana — concerns that we have voiced to legislators,” Cummins said in a message to employees. “Cummins believes that women should have the right to make reproductive health care decisions as a matter of gender equity, ensuring that women have the same opportunity as others to participate fully in the workforce and that our workforce is diverse. This law is contrary to this goal, and we oppose it.”

Cummins joins Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly in condemning the abortion ban. Eli Lilly, which employs 10,400 people at its Indianapolis headquarters, has warned the ban could lead it to reassess its presence in Indiana.

“We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly’s — and Indiana’s — ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world,” the company said in a statement Saturday. “While we have expanded our employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services unavailable locally, that may not be enough for some current and potential employees. Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”

The ban, which takes effect Sept. 15, includes some exceptions. Abortions will be permitted in cases of rape and incest, before 10 weeks post-fertilization; to protect the life and physical health of the mother; and if a fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly. Victims of rape and incest won’t be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to an attack, as had once been proposed.

Under the bill, abortions can only be performed in hospitals or outpatient centers owned by hospitals, meaning all abortion clinics will lose their licenses. A doctor who performs an illegal abortion or fails to file required reports will lose their medical license.

Cummins said it had been expressing its views on the law “directly with legislative leaders prior to and during the legislative process.”

Rep. Ryan Lauer, R-Columbus — who voted for the measure as well as for an amendment that would have removed exceptions in cases of rape and incest that ultimately failed — is a Cummins employee.

The company said the law “does not affect our right to offer reproductive health benefits, and we will continue to offer such benefits to our employees.”

“For Cummins to be successful, it is critical that we have a safe and welcoming workplace and communities where we embrace our differences and enable all employees to thrive,” the company said. “As we continue to grow our footprint with a focus on selecting communities that align with our values and business goals, this law will be considered in our decision-making process.”

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