Right-wing media downplay the effects of overturning Roe, then panic when companies pledge to help employees access abortion

After repeatedly downplaying the effects of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, and insisting the decision just returns reproductive rights to the states, right-wing media had a meltdown over companies proposing support for their employees who must now cross state lines to receive abortions. 

On June 24, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision to reverse decades of precedent and overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The decision closely matched the leaked draft opinion Politico published on May 2 and called Roe “egregiously wrong.”  

Since the decision, six states have enacted near-total abortion bans: Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Several states also either currently have or are set to enact stringent gestational limits, banning abortion after six weeks (well before most people even know they’re pregnant). 

Currently, anti-abortion advocacy groups are working with Republican governors and state lawmakers to block people from crossing state lines to seek the procedure elsewhere. 

Conservative media, however, have continued to downplay the decision’s effect both before and after it was issued and insist that all it does is return reproductive rights and abortion regulation to the states. Right-wing media figures and network guests have proposed that people should “move” states or “elect new people” if they don’t like their state's anti-abortion laws:

  • During the June 21 edition of Fox News’ The Five, co-host Jesse Watters said that if Roe is overturned, “​​you might have to, if you practice unsafe sex, drive an hour across state lines to get an abortion.” Watters went on to call the reaction to the upcoming decision “overblown a little bit.” 
  • During the June 21 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy insisted the decision gives the choice to the states and said, “If you don’t like what your state chooses, then elect new people.” Fox News contributor Leo Terrell agreed, adding, “This case has no effect on the rights of individuals to seek an abortion throughout this country.”
  • Reporting outside the Supreme Court when the decision was announced on June 24, Fox News correspondent David Spunt said the effects of the decision “depends where you live, for instance, people in Arizona, where abortion will now be illegal, will have to travel to California where Gov. Newsom said abortion will be a safe haven for people that want to seek the procedure.”
  • During the June 24 edition of Louder with Crowder, host Steven Crowder insisted, “This is just about giving states the right to ensure that they can regulate abortion.” 
  • On June 24, Fox News host Trace Gallagher asked Mike Davis, a former clerk for Justice Neil Gorsuch, for his analysis of the decision. Davis downplayed the consequences of overturning Roe, saying, “If you don’t like abortion regulation, move to California.”  
  • During the June 24 edition of Fox News’ Jesse Watters Primetime, host Jesse Watters accused Democratic politicians of being dishonest about the effect of Roe being overturned and highlighted that abortion will still be legal in 16 states. Watters went on to say that “if you don’t like the state you live in, you can leave. Millions of Americans move out of state every year.”
  • Fox News anchor and chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream told host Tucker Carlson, “There’s nothing in any of this decision today that bans you from traveling to a different state if it’s got a policy that you’d like to pursue. And so, abortion is not illegal nationwide. … It’s all going to depend on the state you live in.”
  • During the June 27 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich said, “As Democrats try to make this [abortion] a national issue that has been returned to the states, I think people are smart enough to understand that they can look at their own state and see what has changed, what hasn’t changed.”  
  • During the June 27 edition of his radio show, Fox’s Sean Hannity said the talk of abortion bans and back-alley abortions is not true, because “every state will decide, and anybody that wants an abortion can go to any other state they want to.”    
  • The same day, Fox anchor Martha MacCallum said it’s easy to “claim from the rooftops that there’s no more abortion in America, which we all know is not true.” MacCallum admitted that in some states people might have a more difficult time accessing abortion, but said the protests seem like they’re “left over from what we saw in 1973.”  
  • Conservative radio host Erick Erickson:

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe, several companies including Nike, Starbucks, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Netflix, Disney, and Goldman Sachs publicly pledged financial support for employees who need to travel across state lines in order to receive an abortion.   

Predictably, right-wing media slammed companies for offering this support, questioned the morality of these policies, and even went as far as to claim companies are paying women to have an abortion because they don’t want to pay for parental leave. 

  • During the June 24 edition of his show, Fox Business host Stuart Varney questioned the “morality” of companies offering to support their employees who seek abortions, Varney asked his guest if these company announcements are “symptomatic of American corporations diving into … essentially left-wing politics and pushing it on the rest of society,” before adding, “That’s the way I see it.”  
  • Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo slammed companies offering financial support to employees seeking an abortion and outright lied that those same companies offer “nothing to help a woman who might choose to keep that child,” ignoring paid parental leave policies. 
  • During the June 24 edition of OAN’s One America News, anti-abortion activist Ryan Bomberger rhetorically asked, “What kind of message does this send to women?” Bomberger falsely accused companies of paying women to “kill your offspring” but not offering any financial support to women who choose to have the babies (once again, ignoring parental leave). 
  • Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy reported on the companies pledging financial support and added, “I’m a customer of Disney, and I don’t know if I would want Mickey Mouse and Cinderella associated with abortion.” Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo agreed, adding, “It feels almost hypocritical given it's a children's company. It’s odd to see.”   
  • Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt appeared to criticize these companies by pointing out that shareholders will be “footing the bill, you will be footing the bill for these individuals to go to other states if they so choose to do that.” 
  • During the June 27 edition of Fox News' Faulkner Focus, guest anchor Sandra Smith accused governors encouraging people who are seeking abortions to come to their state of “promoting abortion tourism.” Guest and conservative radio host Jason Rantz called companies offering financial support for their employees “very disgusting and it really does highlight some of the just vile positions some folks on the left have when it comes to abortion. It's rather disturbing.”
  • The same evening, Carlson claimed, “Corporate America wants you childless.” Carlson went on to try and reason that because children make health care plans more expensive for companies, they are “paying female employees to have abortions, to end their pregnancies.” 
  • Turning Points USA founder and podcast host Charlie Kirk said that having children is a “danger sign” for corporate America because “moms do not make as good of corporate loyalists as Goldman Sachs, Nike, or Netflix would like them to be.” Kirk then tried to claim that this support from companies is “not about abortion, it’s about profit margins.” 
  • Fox News contributor Guy Benson: