Some conventions and events could be jeopardized by Roe v. wade
The controversial decision to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling allowing abortions in the first two trimesters, commonly referred to as Roe v. Wade, has an immediate impact on the travel industry.
The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling struck down the federal protection of the legislation and returned the decision on abortion to individual states.
But corporate planners who determine site selection for events and conventions say states that go ahead with plans to ban abortions run the risk of losing lucrative meeting business.
Some 22 states either have trigger legislation in place in which abortion bans could be put in place immediately, or laws are being considered to enact a ban.
Anticipating the decision, particularly when a copy of the filing was leaked two months ago, Northstar Meetings Group surveyed meeting and event planners last month about how abortion laws might affect their site selection decisions. Forty-three percent of 281 planners responding to NMG’s May 13-17 flash survey said state-by-state abortion laws will impact their organizations’ site selection decisions. Of those planners, more than 80% say they will favor states that allow abortion, with 54% saying they “will not meet in states with anti-abortion laws.”
For example, LavaCon, the annual content strategy and digital publishing conference, will remove New Orleans from its three-city rotation if Louisiana enacts its proposed anti-abortion legislation.
“Drop this bill or you risk losing billions in future conferences and conventions,” LavaCon executive director Jack Molisani told his liaisons at New Orleans & Company, the organization of city marketing.
But not everyone agrees with this position.
“I still don’t think they’re effective,” said Jack Johnson, advocacy manager for Destinations International. “For a boycott to work, it must be narrowly tailored to directly affect the individual or organization who can actually change it. Travel boycotts don’t do that; they almost immediately harm our industry. It will be months, if not years, before lawmakers who can bring about change see the damage that has been done.
“I don’t think the boycotts really change anything,” agreed Chicke Fitzgerald, CEO of Solutionz, a meeting technology provider and longtime strategic consultant to the industry. “I think it’s a shame it has to be a big deal, because what’s happening at the State House isn’t the venue’s fault. This is where it gets really silly. Our industry has suffered so much over the past two years. Why wouldn’t we just want to open the doors to everyone and not restrict our audience? I think that’s the smart thing to do.
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