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How the Supreme Court abortion case could impact businesses in 2022

Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman details how the Senate passed a stopgap government funding bill and how the abortion case that the Supreme Court is taking up may turn into a business nightmare leading into 2022.

Video transcript

JARED BLIKRE: Amid all the market volatility this week, we had Powell testimony. We had the omicron variant. You might have forgotten that we were facing a government shutdown as recently as a few minutes ago. But President Biden has pulled a rabbit out of the hat, and he just penned a-- signed a continuing resolution that postpones or avoids a government shutdown, at least until the next inevitable time. So we have Yahoo Finance's Rick here, Rick Newman here, to break it all down for us. Rick, I was talking to you about this at 4:25 PM yesterday, and I guess we did it, so we don't have to worry about this now. But it's going to come up again, as we know.

RICK NEWMAN: Congress got something done. They did sign a bill to keep the government funded. And the next big question, of course, is whether they will take the next step, which is a bigger step, which is to extend the borrowing limits so the Treasury can keep borrowing and we're not going to run out of money to pay the bills. That is more important. We've talked about that many times on our air, Jared. And the signals this time around, unlike October, or at least, September, just a few months ago, the signals are that Democrats and Republicans might actually get it done without a lot of last minute drama.

In other words, let's not go down to the wire on this and have to have markets start to figure out, well, what does happen if the Treasury can't pay all of the debt? So it's not done yet, but the signals are that before that ex date, the date at which the Treasury starts to run short of money, that there will be a deal on that, probably a short-term deal, which means it's going to come back up again in 2022, but we can, maybe with luck-- we'll have to verify this next week, but put that aside until next year.

So that leads us up to, legislatively, the last big thing is whether Democrats in the Senate can get that Biden legislation, the so-called Build Back Better bill or the BBB bill, whether they can pass that, get it back to the House, and get that enacted before the end of the year, or whether it drifts into 2022. But things are getting done, I have to say, in Congress one at a time.

KARINA MITCHELL: There seems to be a long laundry list of things that need to get done as well. But I want to switch your attention for a minute, Rick. I want to talk over the last couple of days, there's been something of a political tsunami, if you will, that's been brewing. And it all revolves around monumental arguments at the Supreme Court, stemming over this Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. And the case could create a seismic shift in the right to abortion in the US.

RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, and this is not normally a business story. There have been a lot of challenges to federal abortion statutes. Most of this does not affect business. But I think this one could if the Supreme Court really goes as far next year as significantly weakening the abortion protections that are codified in "Roe v Wade," the 1973 Supreme Court decision, or overturning it. So if the court overturns "Roe v Wade," there are 12 states that have what are called trigger laws, which means that they would automatically ban abortion as long as federal law allows them to. So that would happen in 12 states.

And some of those are big states that are home to some big companies, including Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee. And look what has happened with regard to protests against unpopular laws these days. Consumers and activists and protesters, they go after companies. You know, they start to lean on companies in those states to put pressure on the governments. We've seen this with regard to Delta Airlines, for example, when they stopped giving a discount to the National Rifle Association. We've seen it in other cases related to restrictive voting laws in Georgia and Texas.

Again, those are things that don't really have anything to do with those businesses, but those businesses, nonetheless, have become targets of boycott attempts and other things like that. So what kinds of businesses could deal with this? Well, think about all the businesses that are headquartered in Texas. That's American Airlines, Southwest Airlines. AT&T is there. The oil companies are there.

Think about it, Georgia and Atlanta, they have Coca-Cola and Home Depot and Delta Airlines. Nissan has FedEx-- I mean, Tennessee has FedEx and Nissan's US operations. So there are a lot of big companies that might have to be dealing with this next year. I don't think these boycotts necessarily work, but I think this is something that could be on the radar that has really never been on the radar before.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, and could we just put that map back on the screen one time? Because you said, these are some pretty big states, some pretty big areas. I'm looking at Texas. It's surrounded. We got Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi as one continuous block. And then you look over to the West Coast.

I think it's going to be interesting if this happened. Not interesting-- it could be-- let me just give you a plausible scenario here. If I'm a person in a state, I needed an abortion-- very hypothetical-- I would probably travel to a state that allows it to perform the procedure. And this kind of seems to me a form of regulatory arbitrage, Rick. And without dehumanizing it too much, I'm just wondering if you see those business implications because of that as well.

RICK NEWMAN: For sure, and again, let's be clear here. It's not clear that the Supreme Court is going to overturn "Roe v Wade." It could be something, you know, more short-term or marginal than that. But if it does, there are going to be massive second order and third order implications. For one thing, you know, these are measures that are generally pushed by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. So how could this potentially change the outlook for the 2022 midterms or even the 2024 presidential election? Because suddenly you'll have Republicans having to defend the overturn of "Roe v Wade" if that's where it goes, which is not what the public wants overall.

I mean, the public certainly has misgivings with abortion, but the majority of Americans say they think "Roe v Wade" should remain in place. And those protections should remain there with some variation. So, again, this will have all kinds of implications if this actually happens next year. But we've got probably six months before we're going to hear from the Supreme Court on this. So there's going to be tons of analysis and lots of handwringing leading up to this when this decision comes probably in June of next year.

JARED BLIKRE: And we'll be keeping an eye on it. Thank you for that, Yahoo Finance's Rick New--

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