'We strongly dissent': Women biotech execs pen letter to colleagues and politicians in Roe v. Wade aftermath
In the days following the US Supreme Court’s rollback of federal abortion rights, more than 100 women biotech executives came together in an open letter to condemn the ruling and tell their fellow drug development leaders that they “will not stand by silently.”
Addressed to industry, friends, legislators and elected officials, the biotech executives said they were joining “the resounding millions in chorus” by showing their “profound dismay and disappointment” at the decision handed down by SCOTUS last week, a reversal of Roe v. Wade that had been anticipated for weeks following a court leak.
The letter — signed by the CEOs of Blade, InCarda, Daré Bioscience and a host of other biotechs — called out the ruling’s impact on the medical practitioners who are “best suited to provide care.”
Since its original posting on Friday, the letter has grown from about 70 signatories to more than 100, “with multiple others wanting to sign and many viewing this as a rallying point for further action,” ReCode Therapeutics CEO Shehnaaz Suliman told Endpoints News in an email. The leaders said the ruling focuses on the “special interests of the few rather than the interests of the majority.”
“Abortion is reproductive healthcare. As doctors, scientists, innovators, caregivers, leaders and allies who are at the forefront of innovation in science and medicine for the benefit of patients and women around the world — we decry and denounce the decision by the Court,” the letter reads in part.
The letter did not point to any definitive or direct steps the industry can take in response to the ruling. Some biopharmas have joined with other companies in saying they’ll cover abortion-related travel expenses for employees.
“The message we have articulated is one so many women want to add their voice to. The notes I have received include expressions of anger and helplessness, but also a desire to do something and be part of further action. I truly hope this letter is just the start,” Julia Owens, former Millendo Therapeutics CEO, said in an email to Endpoints News. Multiple additional leaders have reached out to Owens asking to add their names, she said.
With dozens of leaders from various backgrounds joining together, the letter calls for freedom of choice over one’s own body for everyone, “but especially for women, underrepresented minorities, and LGBTQIA+ communities.”
In posting the letter to LinkedIn, Suliman asked other leaders to “join a sea of voices to amplify the call for reproductive health rights for all women.”
A portion of the women who signed the letter had come together for a weekend conference in March aimed at forming a network, sponsoring the next generation of women leaders and mapping out regional meetups, including one that took place during BIO last month in San Diego.
Industry leaders previously came together in February to pen a letter urging business leaders to “economically disengage from Russian Industry” following the invasion of Ukraine.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include additional information from Julia Owens and Shehnaaz Suliman.