Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, defended his state’s law banning all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected by claiming that tech billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk “likes the social policies in the state of Texas.”
Additionally, both Tesla and SpaceX have major operations in The Lone Star State that are growing rapidly.
Abbott said Thursday in an interview with CNBC that it’s not just Texas’ low-tax and relatively deregulated business environment that’s drawing major companies, but also its social policies like the state’s anti-abortion law.
The law, which Abbott signed in May, went into effect on Wednesday after the US Supreme Court did not act on an emergency request by pro-abortion groups to block it.
“People vote with their feet and this is not slowing down businesses coming to the state of Texas. In fact, it is accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas,” he added, noting that they’re leaving the “very liberal state of California.”
“Elon Musk, who I talk to frequently, Elon had to get out of California because in part of the social policies in California. And Elon consistently tells me that he likes the social policies in the state of Texas,” the governor added.
Musk later responded on Twitter, saying, “In general, I believe government should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness.
“That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics,” he added.
In the past, Musk has not avoided politics. In early 2020, at the start of the pandemic, Musk called government stay-at-home orders “fascist” during a shocking rant on Tesla’s first-quarter 2020 earnings call.
“It’s breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country,” Musk said at the time. “What the f–k? Excuse me. Outrage.”
Tesla then sued Alameda County in California, home to the electric car maker’s huge Fremont factory, asserting that the county’s local health orders were at odds with state policy. The company later withdrew the suit.
Last year, Musk donated a total of $8,400 to three anti-abortion Republican lawmakers, public records show. He also donated a total of $11,200 to four Democratic lawmakers who support abortion rights in 2020, records show.