Elon Musk on Thursday declined to weigh in directly on Texas’ abortion law after Gov. Greg Abbott said the Tesla and SpaceX CEO supported his state’s “social policies” following the implementation of the harshly restrictive measure.
“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 told CNBC in a tweet.
“That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics,” said Musk, whose companies and private foundation are both growing their operations in Texas.
Abortion-rights advocates and providers say that the law effectively overturns precedent for abortion protections set under Roe v. Wade in 1973. President Joe Biden and others in his administration, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have vowed to take action after the Supreme Court refused to block the law from taking effect.
Earlier Thursday, Abbott told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the new law and other politically divisive social-issue laws will not make his state less appealing to businesses or individuals.
“You need to understand that there’s a lot of businesses and a lot of Americans who like the social positions that the state of Texas is taking,” Abbott said.
“This is not slowing down businesses coming to the state of Texas at all. In fact it is accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas,” Abbott said.
He added that Musk “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.”
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 law, which also empowers any private citizens to sue anyone who “aids and abets” most abortions.
Musk has historically shown reluctance to weigh in on political issues.
For example, in early 2020, amid early waves of the pandemic, Musk lashed out at government stay at home orders, calling them “fascist” in an expletive-laced rant on Tesla’s Q1 2020 earnings call.
Under his direction, Tesla then filed and eventually withdrew a lawsuit against California’s Alameda County, asserting that its health orders contradicted state policy on business closures.
Last year, Musk donated to three anti-abortion Republican lawmakers and four Democratic lawmakers who support abortion rights, giving each $2,800, according to money-in-politics tracker OpenSecrets.org.
Both Tesla and SpaceX have considerable operations in Texas. Tesla is building its second, U.S. car plant outside of Austin currently. And SpaceX has been operating in the state since 2003.
Musk said on March 31 that the company needs to hire more than 10,000 people through 2022 for the new plant underway in Texas.
Tesla’s headquarters still currently remain in Palo Alto, California, and Tesla operates its first U.S. car assembly plant nearby in Fremont. But last May, Musk threatened to move those headquarters and future development to Texas and Nevada in protest of the pandemic-related restrictions in place in the Golden State.