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Bumble Experiences Workforce Decline in Texas Following Abortion Legislation

ByHuey Yee Ong

Mar 11, 2024
Bumble Experiences Workforce Decline in Texas Following Abortion Legislation

Bumble Experiences Workforce Decline in Texas Following Abortion Legislation

Bumble has reported a significant decline in its workforce within the state of Texas following the enactment of the restrictive ‘Heartbeat Act‘ abortion bill, also known as Senate Bill 8 (SB 8). Elizabeth Monteleone, Bumble’s Interim General Counsel, revealed this during a panel at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. The panel focused on the healthcare crisis in post-Roe America, with women sharing stories advocating for medical decisions to be made by healthcare professionals rather than political figures.

Adjusting to Legislative Changes

SB 8, which has stirred controversy since its passage over a year ago, has prompted Bumble to reconsider its operational strategies, particularly regarding its workforce’s location. The company, originally headquartered in Austin, Texas, has shifted towards a remote-first policy. This strategic pivot supports employees wishing to relocate outside of Texas, a decision influenced by the enactment of SB 8 and potentially other state laws perceived as incompatible with Bumble’s values and its employees’ wellbeing.

The departure of a third of Bumble’s Texas workforce is a telling reflection of the broader implications of SB 8. While the primary focus of Monteleone’s disclosure was the direct impact of this specific legislation, she also hinted at a general dissatisfaction among employees with several Texas laws, suggesting a broader context of legislative discontent driving the workforce reduction.

Legal Stance Against SB 8

Bumble’s proactive stance against SB 8 includes joining an amicus brief in support of Zurawski v. State of Texas, a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights. This legal action challenges the Texas Heartbeat Act’s constitutionality on several fronts:

  • Endangerment to Women’s Lives: Arguing that it deters healthcare professionals from providing necessary abortion services due to fear of legal repercussions.
  • Legal Repercussions for Healthcare Professionals: Including potential loss of license, fines, or imprisonment.
  • Impact on Women: Forcing some to seek healthcare outside the state or carry non-viable pregnancies to term.
  • Participation by Texas Doctors: Claiming the law prevents them from providing proper medical care.

The SXSW panel discussion extended beyond the legal ramifications of SB 8, touching on the personal and emotional toll such legislation takes on women. It also highlighted the emerging legislative efforts to restrict access to services like in vitro fertilization (IVF), underscoring the wide-ranging impact of these laws on individuals’ lives and choices.

The Cost of Legislation on Business

Moreover, Monteleone emphasized the business implications of such restrictive laws, noting challenges in attracting and retaining talent in Texas and increased costs associated with providing comprehensive healthcare benefits to employees. Bumble’s commitment to women’s leadership and advocacy, foundational to its corporate identity, bolsters its argument against SB 8, framing its opposition as both a moral and business-centric stance.

In response to the legislative environment, Bumble has expanded its healthcare benefits to cover costs for employees seeking a broad spectrum of reproductive rights services. This expansion includes:

  • Abortion
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
  • Surrogacy
  • Egg freezing
  • Gender-affirming care

This expansion reflects a growing trend among companies to offer comprehensive benefits in light of restrictive state laws, supporting employees in making personal healthcare decisions without financial burden.

Navigating Business Growth and Market Challenges

The context in which Bumble operates is further complicated by its attempts to navigate business growth amidst a challenging market environment. The company reported a net loss of $32 million and revenue of $273.6 million in the fourth quarter, alongside organizational changes including layoffs and leadership shifts. The appointment of former Slack CEO Lidiane Jones as Bumble’s new CEO marks a significant transition as the company seeks to rejuvenate its growth and appeal, particularly among younger demographics less engaged with dating apps.

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Featured Image courtesy of SXSW 2024 and MardeFondos/Shutterstock

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.