How American companies are helping female employees seeking an abortion

  • The US Supreme Court appears poised to overturn the abortion rights ruling in Roe v Wade.
  • Companies like Citi, Apple, Yelp and Amazon are expanding support for workers who want abortions.
  • Here is a list of the top companies taking action in response to any rollback of reproductive rights.

In a surprise leak, a majority Supreme Court decision appears poised to overturn decades of established law by reversing the constitutional right to abortion under Roe v Wade.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft document was real, but said the court has not yet reached a final ruling.

Although the leak itself was unexpected, it follows a concerted effort that has long been underway in many Republican-controlled states to severely limit access to abortion.

Several large companies with employees located in places like Texas and Oklahoma have announced their own initiatives to preserve access to medical treatment that are in the process of being criminalized by state lawmakers. 26 states are “certain or likely” to ban abortion if Roe is struck down, according to an analysis by the Guttmacher Institute.

Employers such as Citi, Apple, Yelp and Amazon specifically include abortion in their expansion of existing benefit programs, which reimburse employees for travel costs related to seeking medical care that is not available near the employee’s home. .

Others, such as Uber and Lyft, have pledged support for transportation for people seeking abortions, as well as legally defending drivers against abortion-related lawsuits.

Below is a list of the top companies and how they are responding to pushbacks on reproductive rights.

starbucks

The coffee company, which employs 240,000 workers in the US, announced an expansion of its employee benefits package that will soon include reimbursement for travel to access abortion or gender-affirming care not available locally. . The benefit also applies to dependents of employees enrolled in company programs.

“Like many of you, I am deeply concerned about the Supreme Court’s draft opinion related to the constitutional right to abortion that was first established in Roe v. Wade,” said Starbucks Executive Vice President Sara Kelly. , in a letter to the staff. “Regardless of what the Supreme Court ends up deciding, we will always make sure our partners have access to quality health care.”

Tesla

The electric carmaker, which officially moved its headquarters to Texas in December, announced in a May 6 report that it has offered “travel and lodging support for those who may need to seek health care services not available in their state.” of origin” since 2021 under its safety net and health insurance program.

Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed concerns about the Texas fetal heartbeat bill during a town hall meeting in September. The company soon followed up with a memo calling the bill “exceptionally restrictive” and saying the employee health plan covers participants who “travel out of state for medical care if it is not available in their home state.” origin”.

Citi Group

Citi, which has approximately 8,500 employees in Texas, notified investors in a March presentation that “in response to changes in reproductive health laws in certain US states, beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources.

Amazon

On May 2, just hours before news of the Supreme Court’s draft decision broke, Amazon told employees it would cover up to $4,000 per year in travel costs related to nonlife-threatening medical treatment. life, including elective abortion. The policy covers corporate and warehouse workers and their dependents who are enrolled in the company’s Premera or Aetna health plans.

Sales force

Shortly after the Texas bill passed in September, Salesforce told employees via its internal messaging system, “If you have concerns about access to reproductive health care in your state, Salesforce will help you relocate you and members of your immediate family.

Yelp

“Overturning Roe v. Wade will jeopardize the human rights of millions of women who risk losing the freedom to make decisions about their own bodies,” Yelp said in a statement Tuesday. “Turning back the clock on the progress women have made over the last 50 years will have a seismic impact on our society and economy.”

Explaining Yelp’s decision to cover travel costs for employees seeking an abortion in a different state from where they live, Chief Diversity Officer Miriam Warren previously told Insider: “This is not a new issue for Yelp; This is a new benefit.”

“Our company and our CEO have long invested in promoting gender equity,” he continued, “whose possibility is diminished when women have no control over their own reproductive health.”

lyft

In response to recently passed “heartbeat” abortion bans in Oklahoma and Texas, Lyft announced it would cover the legal fees of drivers sued in either state for transporting passengers to abortion providers.

The ride-sharing company said it is also working with health care partners to cover transportation costs to airports and clinics for women in Oklahoma and Texas seeking out-of-state abortion services.

Lyft’s medical benefits in the US include coverage for elective abortions. On April 29, the company said it will cover the transportation costs of employees seeking abortions outside of Texas and Oklahoma.

Uber

Uber announced that it would also cover drivers’ legal fees shortly after Lyft.

“Drivers should not take the risk of taking people where they want to go,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on Twitter, referring to a provision that allows private citizens to sue people who “help and encourage” illegal abortion and creates a $10,000 fine “reward” for successful prosecutions.

Game

Match Group CEO Shar Dubey created a fund for Texas employees seeking out-of-state health care services following the “beat” abortion ban.

“I’m not talking about this as the CEO of a company,” Dubey said. “I am speaking about this personally, as a mother and a woman who has cared deeply about women’s rights, including the fundamental right of choice over her body.”

Bumble

Bumble created a relief fund for organizations that support the reproductive rights of Texans. The $6.6 billion company founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014 tweeted that it was “founded by women and run by women” and that it would “continue to fight against regressive laws like SB8.”

Bumble and Match were among the first Texas-based tech companies to speak out against the ban.

“We are dismayed by the rumors of the Supreme Court decision that were leaked last night,” a Bumble spokesperson said Tuesday. “At Bumble, we firmly believe in women’s right to choose and exercise complete control over their bodies. The safety, privacy and freedom of family planning are fundamental to equality for all… The health and safety of “Our team is our top priority and that includes covering access to abortion care. We will continue to partner with organizations working to provide reproductive access for all.”

dell

In response to TX SB8, Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell sent an email to all Texas employees on Wednesday, September 8, stating, “Our leadership team is carefully reviewing the implications of recent legislation on our business. and in you, the members of our team”.

While the internal message didn’t mention SB8 by name, Dell wrote that “there’s a lot we don’t yet know about how all of these laws will ultimately be enforced” and the “company’s goal is for you to have more (health) coverage.” ), not less.”

A Dell spokesman declined to comment on the draft Supreme Court opinion that was leaked Monday, adding that the company’s focus “is on our team members and supporting them with the benefits and support they need.” “.

levi’s

Levi’s employees, including part-time retail workers, may request reimbursement for travel expenses related to seeking an abortion in another state.

“Protecting access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion, is a critical business issue. Efforts to further restrict or criminalize that access would have far-reaching consequences for the American workforce, the US economy USA and the quest for gender and racial equity.

It would jeopardize the gains women have made in the workplace over the past 50 years, disproportionately impact women of color, and force companies to implement different health policies for different locations. Given the stakes, business leaders must speak up and take action to protect the health and well-being of our employees. That means protecting reproductive rights,” Levi Strauss & Co said Tuesday in a statement shared with Insider.

Lush

Lush Handmade Cosmetics said in January that it is reviewing health care coverage to ensure all US staff can access abortion services.

“We are filled with concern about the state of women’s rights in this country. Not only because Lush employs more than 80% of women, but because we know that access to safe reproductive care, including abortion, is a essential part of a healthy workforce and community For seven months we have been campaigning for the right to access abortion for all in TX, FL, OH, MO, AK and OK.

The leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion confirms our worst fears and we are currently exploring ways to support affected staff with inclusive and equitable care. But this “solution” can only be temporary on the part of the business community, we need legislation like the Women’s Health Protection Law, passed to reflect the will of the majority of the country and ensure that women’s rights are claim them for what they are: human rights, Brandi Halls, chief ethics officer for Lush Cosmetics North America, in a statement shared with Insider on Tuesday.

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