Alabama Legislature

Woodfin Says Abortion Law Is Costing Birmingham Tech Business

Woodfin presents his budget to Birmingham City Council

Updated Two IT companies have canceled or put on hold discussions about moving to Birmingham because of the abortion ban signed into law last week, according to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.

Woodfin told author Diane McWhorter about the changes for an opinion piece published Saturday on CNN.

McWhorter wrote that Woodfin “confirmed to me today that the abortion ban affected two IT companies considering moves to the city – one canceled outright, while the other ‘put the brakes on negotiations.’”

Woodfin said in a statement today that he has not given up on those businesses and still is trying to woo them to the city.

“I talked with my economic development team members this morning about how we can engage in conversations to reach out to appeal directly to these organizations to continue their efforts to be here in the city of Birmingham,” he said in the statement. “They wanted to put a pause on coming here.”

Alabama has become the focus of national outrage over the near-total abortion ban, which does not allow exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Some legislators promoting the bill have said they see it more as a vehicle to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the Roe v. Wade ruling that made the ability to get an abortion the law of the land.

They faced immediate backlash throughout the country for the measure, with the hashtag #BoycottAlabama trending nationally on Twitter the day the law passed.

As written, the law would go into effect in six months. But because supporters are expecting challenges to the law, it is not expected to go into effect until issues have been ruled on by the courts.

Woodfin said he has talked with the governor’s office and members of the legislative delegation about how the abortion law might affect economic development and tourism.

Few economic developers sought for comment by BirminghamWatch responded to questions about what the economic impact might be.

Staff with the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority declined to comment and said the questions were better suited for the Birmingham Business Alliance. Efforts to reach the alliance, which supports economic and workforce development in a seven-county region surrounding Birmingham, were unsuccessful.

An employee of the Birmingham business incubator Innovation Depot declined to comment and directed questions to the organization’s director, who was out of town. Efforts to reach a spokesman for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the city’s largest employer, were unsuccessful.

Reactions from other state governments have been mixed. Some are now pushing stricter abortion laws, while others are urging consumers to boycott products made in Alabama or considering policies that the government will not deal or invest in companies in Alabama. However, Gov. Kay Ivey has said the attention has not cut into the state’s tourism.