Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has “consistently” praised Texas’ “social policies” during his “frequent” conversations with Greg Abbott, the Texas governor said Thursday in an interview focused on his state’s landmark abortion ban.
Abbott appeared on CNBC on Thursday to deny that the new law will harm the state’s business-friendly image, saying that the state’s lax regulations aren’t the only thing that attracts employers.
Abbott said, “candidly, not only do they like the business environment, but you need to understand there’s a lot of businesses and a lot of Americans who like the social positions that the state of Texas is taking.”
The interview came after a Forbes article claimed that two-thirds of college-educated workers would avoid the state because of its new abortion ban after six weeks.
When asked if he meant that the state’s controversial voting restrictions, as well as the new abortion law, are attracting new businesses, Abbott said yes, and that the policies are responsible for “accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas.”
As proof, Abbott went on to describe Elon Musk’s personal political views, which he said were relayed to him in a recurring conversation:
“This is not slowing down businesses coming to the state of Texas. In fact, it is accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas, particularly, Morgan—interestingly—they are leaving the very liberal state of California. And I gotta tell you, whether it be 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 he likes the social policies in the state of Texas.”
Musk responded to the interview hours later, but he didn’t confirm or deny Abbott’s claims.
“In general, I believe government should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness,” Musk tweeted, continuing: “That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics.”
The lone tweet doesn’t reveal Musk’s position on the Texas law, other than to state that he’d rather avoid the subject.
Tesla does not allow reporters to ask questions. No one from SpaceX could be reached for comment.
SB 8, Texas’ most recent anti-abortion law, is the most severe in the country. Because of the time constraints placed on people who might want to have an abortion, it’s widely described as a de facto ban on the procedure.
The law effectively bans doctors from performing abortions on adults and minors as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Opponents and medical experts argue that the vast majority of women who seek the procedure will do so outside of this timeframe. They point out that a variety of medical issues, such as birth control complications and irregular menstruation, can cause people to be unaware of a pregnancy for longer than six weeks.
Doctors have criticized the bill’s use of medical myth, claiming that perceived signs of cardiac activity are a deceptive yardstick for removing abortion as a viable option.
Numerous states, including Texas, have put restrictions on abortion based on what politicians call a “detectable fetal heartbeat.” However, there is no fetus at six weeks pregnant, and the embryo in its place has no heart by definition.
The law is especially harsh on survivors of sexual assault. Even if the survivor is a minor and the rapist is a blood relative, the law makes no exceptions for anyone who is forced into a pregnancy by rape.
The conservative majority of the United States Supreme Court refused to strike down the law on Wednesday.
SB 8 contains an unusual provision that encourages Texans to report anyone they suspect of “aiding and abetting” an abortion after the six-week mark. It allows anyone in the state to sue anyone who is even remotely involved in an abortion for at least $10,000, including family members who lend support.
“Any Texan can now be sued if they are so much as suspected of having helped a pregnant person seeking abortion care after about 6 weeks in pregnancy,” said NARAL, a nonprofit organization that opposes abortion restrictions. “This includes clergy members or counselors, abortion funds that assist someone in paying for abortion care, and even someone who drives a patient to their appointment—including family members, friends, and rideshare drivers.”