For Wu and Healey, reproductive rights become a selling point

Say state’s stance could attract businesses, health care professionals, students

GOV. MAURA HEALEY and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu are starting to make the case that the national fight over abortion could make the state a magnet for people concerned about their reproductive rights.

At events on Beacon Hill on Monday, the governor and mayor suggested the strong support in Massachusetts for reproductive rights could lure college students, businesses, and health care professionals away from the roughly two dozen states that have either banned or are likely to ban abortion. It was a dramatic shift in the ongoing debate about the state’s competitiveness, which until now has focused largely on high housing costs and tax burden.

“To the companies who are looking to fill vacancies and seeking a workforce, move to Massachusetts, where your employees will be able to care for their whole lives,” Wu said at a rally on the State House steps.

“To the health care professionals who swore not to do harm and to save lives and are questioning why you are in this fight alone in other states, move to Massachusetts,” Wu said. “We welcome you and we will have your back every step of the way.”

Both Wu and Healey made a pitch to students planning for college by pointing to UMass Amherst and its decision to help the state stockpile the abortion pill mifepristone.

“To the students in high school who are making decisions right now about where to go to college, move to Massachusetts, where our universities are standing shoulder to shoulder with elected leadership in fighting for you and protecting you,” Wu said.

“That’s a message to college-aged women across Massachusetts and, frankly, across the country as people are evaluating where they’re going to attend school next year,” Healey said. “Remember, Massachusetts is a place that will protect your freedom and protect your rights and protect your access to health care.”

And Wu suggested the state’s stance on abortion is reflective of a host of quality-of-life policies that make Massachusetts an attractive place to work and live.

“We welcome you move to Massachusetts,” she said, “where we are fighting for affordable housing, where we are fighting for schools to serve every single child, where we are ahead of the curve when it comes to climate and green infrastructure, and we are building the types of communities that everyone in our country deserves.”