Holcomb defends abortion ban signing, rebuffs talent-attraction fears

Eric Holcomb

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday defended his signing of a near-total abortion ban this month and brushed off fears of business and talent attraction consequences in the wake of ominous statements from major homegrown employers.

“I have yet to hear—and maybe we never will—some [companies] might just fly over the state of Indiana because of this issue [of abortion],” Holcomb told reporters. “I don’t mean to act like it’ll never happen—it might. But so are a lot of other issues that factor into where someone invests.”

Holcomb spoke after a Q&A session hosted by the OneZone Chamber of Commerce, which serves Carmel and Fishers.

Asked if he believed Senate Enrolled Act 1 matched up with what the majority of Hoosiers want, Holcomb acknowledged deep divisions within the state.

“I believe it was progress. Some people believe it was the opposite of progress. Some people believe that it was not enough progress,” Holcomb said. “And I respect that honestly. But I would just encourage folks to be very respectful.”

Progress toward what? Holcomb said that “progress” didn’t mean he’d wanted to ditch the ban’s narrow exceptions for rape and incest, like some fellow Republicans.

“No, it means that we made progress. And it met my threshold of progress,” he said. “We’ll take the next hypothetical in the months and years ahead … This will far outlive my tenure.”

Holcomb was optimistic about the state’s competitiveness, despite warnings from pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. and engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. released after the bill’s passage into law.

In a statement August 6, Lilly indicated the ban would affect its talent-seeking and -keeping efforts, adding, “Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”

The company has said it will honor its $2.1 billion Boone County commitment. CEO Dave Ricks made waves in April when he told a lunch crowd at the Indiana Convention Center that Indiana’s low taxes and regulatory burden aren’t enough to be competitive.

“We are deeply concerned about how this law impacts our people and impedes our ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce in Indiana,” said Cummins spokesman Jon Mills in an August 6 statement bluntly opposing the ban.

Holcomb didn’t share those reservations.

“It is full steam ahead in every business ranking,” he told reporters. “It’s because of site selection superiority. It’s because of [the] low cost of doing business. It’s because of access to talent. And we have that access to talent—we had it yesterday, we have it today and we’ll have it tomorrow.”

Later, he said, “I’ll continue to work very closely with Lilly and I love the position that Dave Ricks has got that company in—and that it’s headquartered here. It’s a source of pride.”

The Indiana Capital Chronicle is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that covers state government, policy and elections.

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14 thoughts on “Holcomb defends abortion ban signing, rebuffs talent-attraction fears

  1. I can’t stand Holcomb but he is right about companies choosing to do business here… There is so much more that goes into it besides whether or not you can get an abortion in the state.

  2. Corporations should and for the most part do, focus on profits and maximizing shareholder/owner value. Ability to compete for human resources/talent is part of that equation. Apparently this is a single-edged sword. Pro-life policies will handcuff recruiting workers to Indiana. How about Pro-death policies causing workers that respect all human life to avoid states with Pro-death policies? Perhaps Lilly and Cummins will move their HQ’s to Illinois, a Pro-death policy state. Then again, Boeing and Caterpillar recently announced they are moving their HQ’s out of Illinois. There is also the variable of safety and security. Large blue-state cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York have seen violent crime spikes in the wake of woke, leftists riots that have killed many and destroyed millions of dollars of property. Followed by public initiatives to defund and/or eliminate law enforcement, fueled by elected prosecutors relaxing incarceration and prosecution of individuals committing violent crimes. Unprecedented increases in violent crimes have resulted. (Go figure!) The Indiana business community would be better served by demanding policies that reduce violent crime, especially in large cities like Indianapolis. Professional workers, whether in the office or on the factory floor, care more about the safety and security of their and their families lives than anything else. In this sense, they are all “Pro-life”.

    1. Mark H…..

      We must be reading two different bills…..

      Abortion is allowed in Indiana…….under certain circumstances. Using abortion as a form of contraception is what is not allowed.

    2. You have giving the a women the freedom and the right to choose verses the Force to birth fascists of the Republican party confused.

      And just like LGBTQ rights, allowing gay marriage is not going to force you to marry somebody of the same sex. If you believe abortion is wrong don’t do it and counsel your daughter into not doing it, but don’t force your religious convictions on other people.

    3. Good whataboutism (changing the topic). You might see the recent correlation to violent crime to the free and easy access to more and higher power guns.

      Historically there was a study that showed that crimes rates starting to drop in the late 70’s all though the 90’s and that may be directly tied to the availability of abortion with people empowered to make economic decisions and less people growing up in poverty.

  3. “I have yet to hear—and maybe we never will—some [companies] might just fly over the state of Indiana because of this issue [of abortion],”

    Is he daring a company to do so? He’s such a fool. Hope LLY moves its headquarters out of this state, North Mississippi.

    1. No, Michael G., he is not a fool. For once in his marginally-RINO life, he is taking a principled stand for what is right and decent in the long run. Good for him.

    2. Holcomb is no different than Indiana’s legislative branch – it’s like I said the other day: they don’t fear Democrats being elected in their stead and changing laws, they fear other Republicans being elected in their stead and they would lose the power they’re addicted to. If enough people voted Democrats into office for a couple of election cycles, the Republicans know Indiana would revert before much longer. Power corrupts – and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The state legislators & Holcomb enjoy the power and don’t want to see anyone replace them, even if it’s other Republicans. And Donald T. Rump got a multi-year dose of near-absolute power, hence his scrambling to try & overthrow the government.
      There are two changes which need to be made to the election system in the state and country: 1) term limits; 2) if you are in office and want to run for a different position, you must resign your current position — this eliminates the safety net they have when they run for a new office. Think of the consistent US Senators who all try to make a run for POTUS, knowing they have a job remaining for them if they fail. If they had to resign their current position to run for POTUS, they might be a little more careful about their gambling.

  4. Mark H sounds like a Fox News broken record, with selective facts and partial truths. Leaders of companies that hire, literally, thousands of people have more insights to the private sector hiring process than a lifetime politician who has hired maybe a campaign chair and treasurer in his whole life.

    1. Robert H. Your weak command of The Mother Tongue is painfully obvious: I think you mean secede, not succeed!

      (If Indianapolis succeeds in seceding, will Joe “Boss” Hogsett become President? That’s almost as bad a joke as the dementia-addled Joe Biden becoming President of The United States…wait, that happened!)

      Our legislators did the right thing. If you don’t like it, vote them out or move to Illinois…please, the latter. The climate is almost identical to Indiana and the politics would be more to your short-sighted liking.

      Explain to me why, in your considered, advanced wisdom, our culture is clamoring for workers in almost every industry and respect for life is so low after legally killing 62,000,000+ Americans in the womb during the last almost 50 years, how that killing does not impact our nation today.

    1. Indeed, Chuck…and Caterpillar moving out of Illinois…wow! Caterpillar and Peoria IL have been joined at the hip forever. All you pro-recreational-abortion folks take note.

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