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Roe v. Wade: Progressive PR strikes back to protect human rights

by | May 10, 2022 | Analysis, Public Relations

What’s happening now

Politico’s scoop on SCOTUS reminded me of that feeling of losing a schoolyard fight.

As a gay man, I realize that my marriage, and several rights, are intertwined with Roe. I also knew that if I was feeling this anxious, then the women of my company—in fact, all the women I have ever known—must be feeling worse.

I couldn’t sleep that night and determined my company, Bospar, would underwrite any staffer’s expenses if they needed medical treatment for something outlawed in their state. We published our policy first thing in the morning.

Our efforts have already made waves. AdAgeDigiday and the Houston Chronicle have all covered our efforts.

What happened with Texas

Part of the reason we were able to move so quickly was that we were the first company to take a stand against the Texas abortion ban back in September. As you remember, Bospar led the nation when it announced its efforts to relocate staff following the Texas abortion ban. Salesforce followed the next day via twitter. Citi and Yelp have followed.

We decided to speak out on the Texas abortion ban for a number of reasons:

  • 80 percent of our staff are women
  • 80 percent of our Texas staff are women—who are impacted by this new abortion ban
  • When Texas Governor Abbot made the business case for the abortion ban on September 2, we recognized it as spin
  • Meanwhile, our staff was looking for company leadership to respond immediately after the bill was put in place—the most restrictive abortion bill in the nation. What would happen if they needed an abortion? How would our company respond?
  • After learning our Texas staff members were pricing moving to Chicago, we decided to pay for our staff’s relocation should they need it, whenever they needed it—no questions asked
  • Additionally, media noted that most companies were reluctant to respond to the Texas abortion ban out of fear for angering conservatives
    • We decided we couldn’t only help our staff—we needed to do something bigger to inspire other companies to act
  • So, we treated our policy like a product launch in an effort to show other companies that being pro-choice was good for business
  • We announced our effort seven days after Governor Abbott’s declaration, securing over 60 media placements, from the BBC to Fast Company: We’re helping employees relocate in response to the Texas abortion ban

What happened next

Here’s our blog about what we learned immediately.

Here’s our two-minute PKG about our efforts to fight the Texas abortion ban.

We produced this video as part of our bigger strategy. Our thought was that if companies saw that we were doing well by doing right, they would follow our example.

Speaking of awards, on Wednesday night PRovoke, one of the most important PR publications, gave us the SABRE Award for Superior Achievement in Reputation Management for “Bospar Messes with Texas.” The founder of the PRovoke, Paul Holmes, tweeted this:

“Our judges have never given an award this big to a PR agency itself (rather than for its client work) but everyone wanted to recognize this initiative, triggered by Texas laws that deny human rights and healthcare to the state’s women. Important leadership.”

Here’s the award entry PDF that goes further into what we did with “Bospar Messes With Texas.”  We have a shorter version, too. Fast Company also recognized our efforts in their World Changing Ideas feature.  Inc. highlighted our work in their “Best In Business” section.

And here’s some of the coverage we secured—but it doesn’t include our new efforts now that Roe. vs. Wade is imperiled.

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Curtis Sparrer
Curtis Sparrer is a Principal and Co-Founder at Bospar in San Francisco.

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