Welcome to Ohio, Intel

Photo by Slejven Djurakovic on Unsplash

Dear Patrick Gelsinger:

You’re one of the most popular men in Ohio right now. Since January, the state has been abuzz about the $20 billion investment you are making in Licking County, just outside of Columbus. We’re delighted that you’re going to bring thousands of jobs to the state that pay upwards of $100,000 per year. Even Joe Biden touted your plant’s future location as a “field of dreams” in his State of the Union Address. And state leaders pointed to your decision as proof that their Jobs Ohio plan — the one that attempts to recruit folks from the coasts to the state is working. We love to tout folksy Midwestern values here too, love to talk about how everyone is welcome in Ohio. Maybe you even visited that jobs website before you made your decision? The one that promises Ohio is a place where you can “live your own version of the American Dream?” Catchy, right?

But my own version the the American Dream includes reproductive autonomy for all women. And it looks like I’ve come to the wrong place. You see, Ohio politicians, aided and abetted by the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court, apparently, are about to put Ohio women — and frankly, you too, Patrick — in a tough spot. You chose to make an investment in a state that passed a six week abortion ban in 2019. That ban is now on hold thanks to a federal judge. But when the Supreme Court officially announces in a few days or weeks or months that, oops, they got it wrong back in 1974, that law is likely to go into effect here. Or maybe instead it will be the one under debate right now that bans abortion outright with no exemption for rape. No matter which bill, our lawmakers seem hell-bent on eliminating women’s reproductive freedom, with Governor DeWine ready to rubber-stamp whatever plan lands on his desk, each seemingly crueler than the last. (Before you tell us to “vote them out,” know that they are ignoring State Supreme Court orders around drawing fair maps that would certainly aid in this process).

Enter Intel. Your company. The one that proudly boasts on its website recognition on the Bloomberg Equality Index and Working Mother’s Best 100 Companies to Work For, among other accolades. It talks about its goal of doubling the number of women in senior leadership, and a commitment to racial equity. Let’s be real: abortion access is necessary to meet these goals. Those women you want to be leaders? They need to to be able to decide if and when to become mothers alongside that demanding career. And reproductive access is an essential piece of racial justice. Full stop.

So what do you do? Companies simply proposing to pay for women to leave the state for necessary medical care are exacerbating inequality within these states. No woman’s autonomy, or health, should be decided by where she happens to land a job. Like every major corporation in the U.S. right now, Intel has a difficult decision to make. But unlike most of them, you aren’t anchored yet — your factory won’t break ground until late this year.

Intel can walk away. Intel can use that as leverage. Intel should do so.

Governor DeWine may be willing to sign any so-called pro-life bill that comes across his desk. He may not be willing to listen to the voters in his state who are begging him to stop this madness. But boy, he sure does like the Intel deal. Just look how happy you two are together! You have the eyes and ears of the “pro-business” community in Ohio and across the country on you right now, Patrick. You have the power to say that you will not open factories and invest in states that are hostile to the very women your company is trying to attract. You can stand up for us when the institutions we’ve relied on have abdicated their responsibility.

Will you?

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Columbus-based writer, educator, and mom. Read more at lindaleebaird.com.

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Linda Lee Baird

Linda Lee Baird

Columbus-based writer, educator, and mom. Read more at lindaleebaird.com.

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