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Abortion access debate hits the business world

Following the striking down of Roe v. Wade, activist investors are pushing companies to disclose the impact new abortion rights laws could have their businesses. Yahoo Finance legal reporter Alexis Kennan breaks down what investors want to know.

Video Transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Well, the constitutional right to abortion was revoked last year when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. Now as we follow up on, this activist investors are pushing major companies to disclose the impact the new limitations have on their businesses. Joining us now is Yahoo Finance's Alexis Keenan to break it all down for us. Hey, Alexis.

ALEXIS KEENAN: Hi, Rachelle. So yeah, the number of shareholder proposals that relate to abortion access, they doubled from last year's proxy season to this year's. And the number this year reached about 30. And the big takeaway here is that all of the proposals and Yahoo Finance's counted about 16 of them, all of them that went to a vote, they said no to the idea of requiring that companies explain the financial as well as reputational risks that they face now that women have no constitutional right to abortion.

Now take a look at some of the companies that face these types of votes. They go across industries. Meta, Google, Costco, Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Walmart and Comcast as well. Comcast just had its vote yesterday. Preliminary results show also a no there to these issues.

Now let's talk specifically about what these measures entail. By and large, these proposals, they sought disclosures from these companies on matters like how companies handle abortion-related customer data in response to law enforcement or potential law enforcement requests, also how their political contributions to candidates conflict with their company's stated values, also how state abortion limitations can impact hiring as well as retaining and relocating workers, and also on the other side of the issue, the potential risks of even supporting abortion.

So altogether, Yahoo Finance reviewed about these 30 proposals that were on the table this year. Some of them though were withdrawn before a vote. And in some cases, those withdrawals can be seen as a success by their proponents because they forced companies to make some changes. And one of those is CVS. They faced a proposal, but before it went to a vote, the company agreed to provide some greater protections around their customers' health care data.

But certainly this is part of a wider ESG push. But we're seeing on both sides of the political and ideological aisles here, these issues coming to a fore. But just a huge uptick this year in the number of abortion related matters on the table that doubling from last year. Just a significant, significant change despite the fact that these were virtually all no-votes so far. Rachelle?

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Certainly a lot of people seeking some clarity here, at least not getting it for now. A big thank you, Yahoo Finance's Alexis Keenan. Thanks so much.