AT&T claps back after leftist groups attack company over Texas abortion bill
Two major leftist organizations launched ads targeting AT&T, condemning it for contributing to the campaigns of Texas Republican lawmakers who sponsored S.B. 8, the law that bans abortions after 6 weeks gestation when doctors can detect a “fetal heartbeat.” The organizations also plan to hit the Walt Disney Corporation, and NBC-Universal over donations those companies made to Republicans sponsoring a similar abortion bill in Florida.
Corporate Accountability Action and American Bridge 21st Century, the Democratic Party’s opposition research arm, launched the ads, highlighting the companies’ donations to Texas Republicans, the Associated Press reported. Corporate Accountability Action claimed that AT&T had donated more than $645,000 over the past two years to nearly 22 lawmakers who sponsored S.B. 8.
Yet AT&T told FOX Business that it has not taken a position on the abortion law, and all three of the corporations contributed heavily to Democrats, as well as Republicans, in the 2020 election cycle.
“AT&T has never taken a position on the issue of abortion, and the Texas legislation was no exception,” an AT&T spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement on Sunday. “AT&T did not endorse nor support passage of Senate Bill 8 in the Texas legislature.”
“AT&T’s employee political action committees have never based contribution decisions on a legislator’s positions on the issue of abortion, and employee PAC contributions to Texas legislators went to both opponents and supporters of Senate Bill 8,” the spokesperson concluded.
In the 2020 cycle, the AT&T PAC gave $1.474 million to Republicans and $1.27 million to Democrats at the federal level, according to OpenSecrets. Donations from the company itself weighted heavily in favor of Democrats, with $4.1 million going to Democrats and $1.8 million going to Republicans.
Corporate Accountability Action did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment about AT&T’s donations to Democrats.
The two leftist groups also plan to launch ads attacking the Walt Disney Company and NBC Universal. Corporate Accountability Action claims that Disney gave $262,000 to the more than two dozen lawmakers who sponsored the abortion bill, and that NBC Universal gave $83,500 to those legislators, along with $88,000 to the Texas Republicans behind the Lone Star State’s abortion law.
Neither the Walt Disney Company nor NBC Universal responded to Fox News’ requests for comment. According to OpenSecrets, Disney gave a whopping 85.3 percent of its federal donations to Democrats in the 2020 cycle, $3.3 million, compared to merely 7.3 percent of its donations to Republicans, $277,925. The company’s PAC gave $79,750 to Democrats and $52,500 to Republicans.
NBC Universal did not make federal contributions, but the PAC of its owner, Comcast, gave more to Republicans ($1.4 million) than to Democrats ($1.2 million) on the federal level.
The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant. Rather than having the state enforce the ban, the law creates a private right of action against individuals who commit or aid and abet an abortion that violates the law – but not against the woman who undergoes the procedure.
After abortion providers attempted to block the law from going into effect, the Supreme Court upheld the law, but the Biden administration intervened. After a district court judge filed an injunction blocking the law, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the law to go into effect. Abortion facilities had temporarily halted operations before restarting them after the injunction, only to halt them once again.
“This is a moment in our country where there is no middle ground. You really can’t be on the sidelines,” Cecile Richards, past president of Planned Parenthood and current co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century, told the AP.
“Pressure campaigns like this are nothing new coming from the left. Rather than debating the issue of life, American Bridge and Corporate Accountability Action are trying to silence pro-life politicians,” Justin Danhof, executive vice president at the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project and an investor in AT&T and Disney, told FOX Business.
Danhof insisted that “these campaigns are always wildly disingenuous,” noting that “corporate PAC dollars are generally evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.”
“As an investor in AT&T and Disney, I hope they have the courage simply to speak truth to the lies of these extremist bullying tactics,” Danhof added. “I encourage pro-life customers, investors, and employees of these targeted companies to reach out and make your voice heard. Corporate leaders need to hear from both sides. The left wants to silence you. Don’t let them.”
“This is another example of the pro-abortion mob attempting to cancel anyone and everyone who doesn’t bow to their agenda,” Kimberlyn Schwartz, director of media and communication at Texas Right to Life, told FOX Business. “This campaign is simply juvenile. These companies clearly didn’t donate to elected officials because of their Pro-Life beliefs.”
“It’s also important to realize that pro-abortion activists predicted that Texas’ economy would collapse without abortion and that there would be cultural chaos, but we ended almost all abortions for over a month and none of their doomsday predictions came true,” Schwartz added. “Not only will the world still turn without abortion, but our culture flourishes and we are all lifted up when we promote life.”