Opinion Poll: Women Small Business Owners say Access to Reproductive Health, Including Abortion Care and Birth Control, Plays an Important Role in Career Success

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, June 14, 2023

New poll finds women entrepreneurs are concerned that abortion restrictions will force women in business to choose between their reproductive health and their career.

Washington, D.C. - As the nation approaches the first anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization overturning the constitutional right to abortion, a new Small Business Majority poll released today found that 72% of women small business owners across the political spectrum support a federal law that ensures women have the right to abortion care. 

The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners, reveals that the vast majority of women small business owners believe there is a clear link between reproductive health and their economic freedom. Across party lines, 92% of women small business owners agree that it is important for women to be able to choose if and when to have children. This sentiment was bolstered by the fact that most women small business owners–including 86% of Republican-identified respondents–support policies that would ensure and expand access to birth control. And 54% of women small business owners agree that providing access to family planning options such as birth control and abortion care is important to their economic security. At a time when states like North Carolina, Texas, and Florida have either enacted or presented legislation that rolls back access to birth control, the survey finds that in states where reproductive rights are being threatened or restricted, about 10% more business owners said their revenues were declining than improving. 

“As a small business owner in a state that has restricted access to abortion, I’m concerned about the long-term consequences overturning Roe v. Wade may have on my employees' choice to stay with my business. And as a mom of a daughter, I worry about the impact this decision will have on my child’s opportunities to start a business and venture on her own,” said Laura Starkey, founder and executive director of Heartwood Preserve in Tampa Bay, Fla. “Restricting reproductive health is the opposite of supporting equitable access to career growth opportunities. I’m hopeful that policymakers will address this harmful decision so we can move forward with building a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that provides a safe pathway for future and current women small business owners.”

The myriad new legal implications stemming from the Dobbs decision have created concerns for smaller firms already struggling to retain quality staff with limited benefits. The poll finds that roughly 42% of women business owners are concerned about the impact of the decision on their employees, 36% are concerned about their business, and the majority (69%) are concerned for our country. These concerns may stem from nearly 6 in 10 women small business owners believing that restrictions on abortion access will force women to choose between their careers or their reproductive freedom. 

"In 2018, women business owners owned over 12 million businesses and employed more than 10 million workers. These entrepreneurs have had clear and direct impacts on our nation's economy," said Rachel Shanklin, National Women's Entrepreneurship Director of Small Business Majority. "However, the 2020 'shecession' set them back and the Dobbs decision is creating yet another targeted threat against their economic well-being. Our poll underscores how vital reproductive health is to the ability of women to advance their careers and become business owners. We can't go backward by restricting access to essential care while diminishing the rights and position of our nation's women entrepreneurs.” 

This poll reflects a national survey of 500 small business owners, with additional oversamples of 100 Black women entrepreneurs and 100 Latina entrepreneurs in the United States. Respondents were politically diverse, with 42% identifying as Republican or Republican-leaning, 39% as Democrat or Democrat-leaning, 14% as pure independent and 3% as other/not sure. The poll was an online survey conducted by Lake Research Partners during April 19-30, 2023. The margin of error for the base sample is +/- 4.4%, and higher for subgroups and split-sampled questions.To read the full report, click here


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 85,000 small businesses and 1,500 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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