As the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act – otherwise known as the “fetal heartbeat bill” – sails through the Georgia General Assembly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wants to know just one thing:
Why aren’t Georgia’s “corporate powers”, who are usually so vocal when religious liberty bills are up for consideration, getting involved in the fetal heartbeat bill debate?
In a March 13th piece, the paper wrote that failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was curious “to know why a bill that would outlaw most abortions isn’t triggering the same reaction” from businesses as religious liberty legislation has in the past.
Her open call to action on the issue apparently didn’t garner much in the way of a public response from the likes of Coca-Cola and Home Depot. 8 days later, the AJC wrote again on the same issue, asking the same question.
In a March 21st piece, the AJC reported on how “corporate powers and business boosters” have “stayed silent” over the bill, even as it has made national headlines and spurred on the usual garden variety of leftist special interest groups into action.
The article went on to say that “Democrats and other critics” of the bill were questioning why corporate Georgia had so far stayed out of the debate. But interestingly enough, they only cited one Democrat: Abrams. And the quotes they used from her were from their piece from the week before.
In other words, it was a recycled story – until you read midway down into the piece.
It was there readers learned the AJC itself, prompted by “Democrats and other critics” (read: Abrams), had “reached out to each of the Georgia-based Fortune 500 companies that opposed a significant religious liberty measure in 2016.” The paper went on to say that most of them did not want to comment, or otherwise wanted to stay out of it altogether.
The paper, it seems, was basically doing the bidding of Abrams.
North Carolinians saw this same tactic in action during the HB2 “bathroom bill” drama. The bill got plenty of attention nationally, but it wasn’t enough. Democrat politicians and left-wing activist groups demanded to know where businesses stood on the bill. The political media got in on the act, too. After all, their editorial boards took stands against it, and the papers decided they needed to do their part.
Liberal groups went door-to-door in parts of the state, demanding to know if businesses were “transgender friendly.” Both of the state’s major newspapers published straight-news pieces that contained headcounts of where businesses stood on the bill. Some of the information came from progressive LGBT activist groups, and some of it came from reporters asking the businesses themselves where they stood.
One journalist at a Raleigh newspaper retweeted – without verification – tweets from a liberal activist engaged in an online outing campaign against businesses that allegedly supported HB2.
It was a shame game then, and it’s a shame game now – liberal groups and mainstream media outlets acting in concert to force businesses to care about an issue. These businesses, out of fear of being targeted by liberal outrage mobs, often cave. The liberal special interest groups then turn around and use the talking point that the bill is “so divisive that even xyz business are threatening to pull out and that will hurt our state.”
It’s like a double whammy – the media helps the left do the dirty work of shaming these companies into caring and making economic threats over controversial issues. Then those liberal groups turn around and blame bill sponsors for inspiring the boycott threats, when most of the businesses would not have gotten involved in the debate had it not been for the combined efforts of leftist groups and media outlets dogging them into responding.
Nationally known conservative and Georgian Erick Erickson wrote a book about this issue in 2016 that was appropriately titled “You Will Be Made to Care.” Although the book primarily focused on religious persecution in the United States against conservative Christians, the left’s “made to care” mentality extends to beyond religion, as we often see when fetal heartbeat bills are proposed.
Thankfully corporations in Georgia have so far largely resisted calls from Abrams, the activist left, and the AJC to comment on the record about the LIFE Act. Expect the pressure on them to intensify in the coming weeks, however.
The proposed bill passed the Senate late last week. It now goes back to the House for consideration of the Senate’s changes. Gov. Brian Kemp has said he will sign the bill into law if it makes it to his desk. Predictably, the Georgia ACLU already plans to sue.
Stacey Matthews is a veteran blogger who has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to Red State and Legal Insurrection.