Elon Musk declined to take Texas abortion law directly into account on Thursday after Governor Greg Abbott said the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX endorsed his state’s “social policy” after implementing the severely restrictive measure.
“In general, I believe the government should seldom impose its will on people while trying to maximize their cumulative happiness,” Musk told CNBC in a tweet.
“But I’d rather stay out of politics,” said Musk, whose companies and private foundations are expanding their businesses in Texas.
Abortion rights advocates and vendors say the law sets the precedent for abortion protection established under Roe v. Wade was set to effectively cancel. President Joe Biden and others in his administration, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, have vowed to take action after the Supreme Court refused to block the law from going into effect.
Earlier Thursday, Abbott told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the new law and other politically divisive laws on social issues will not make his state any less attractive to businesses or individuals.
“You need to understand that there are a lot of companies and a lot of Americans who like the social positions of the state of Texas,” Abbott said.
“This is not slowing down the companies coming into the state of Texas at all. In fact, it is speeding up the process of companies coming into Texas,” Abbott said.
He added that Musk “had to get out of California because of California’s welfare policy, and Elon keeps telling me that he likes Texas welfare policy.”
Musk personally moved to Texas from California last year, which could save him billions of dollars in taxes. He had not shared his thoughts on the Heartbeat Abortion Act, which also empowers private individuals to sue anyone who “aids” and “incites” most abortions.
Musk has shown little reluctance to meddle on political issues in the past.
For example, in early 2020, amid the early waves of the coronavirus pandemic, Musk slapped government stay-at-home orders, calling them “fascist” in a text over Tesla’s earnings call for the first quarter of 2020.
Under his direction, Tesla then filed a lawsuit against California’s Alameda County and eventually withdrew it, alleging its health ordinances were in conflict with state policy on business closings.
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Last year, Musk donated to three Republican anti-abortion lawmakers and four Democratic lawmakers who support abortion law, giving $ 2,800 each, according to money-in-politics tracker OpenSecrets.org.
Both Tesla and SpaceX have sizable operations in Texas. Tesla is currently building its second US auto plant outside of Austin. And SpaceX has been operating in the state since 2003.
Musk said on March 31 that the company will need to hire more than 10,000 people for the new Texas facility by 2022.
Tesla’s headquarters are currently still in Palo Alto, California, and Tesla operates its first U.S. auto assembly plant nearby in Fremont. But last May, Musk threatened to move these headquarters and future development to Texas and Nevada in protest of pandemic-related restrictions in the Golden State.