Microsoft Corp. this week became the latest company to say it would provide assistance to employees who must travel to get an abortion.
Apple, Citigroup, Yelp and others also have announced steps to counter abortion restrictions.
Those announcements come as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that legalized abortion across the United States. The court found that based on a right to privacy, abortion could not be banned before a fetus could live outside the womb.
A draft of an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito overruling Roe v. Wade was leaked to Politico. Alito, who seems to have the agreement of at least four other justices, wrote in the draft that Roe v. Wade “was egregiously wrong from the start.”
“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to an abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions,” he wrote.
States could still allow abortions but about half would ban them.
Some companies had already been making changes to their benefits in response to restrictions imposed on the state level as legislators whittled away at a right to abortion. Those include limiting who can perform an abortion, how late into a pregnancy one can be done and whether state fund could be used to pay for them.
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Uber and Lyft, the country's two largest ride-hailing services, have said they will pay the legal fees for drivers who could get sued under Texas law passed last year for transporting a passenger to an appointment for an abortion.
Other companies have remained silent over the issue, a potentially tricky one to navigate. Some Republican politicians have shown a willingness to retaliate when companies cross them on such social issues. On the other hand, the assistance could help employers retain workers in states that ban or restrict abortions.
Here are some details on the corporate response:
Amazon.com Inc. will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses for abortions and other non-life threatening medical procedures. The benefit applies if the medical care is not available within 100 miles of an employee’s home, Reuters reported. Among other procedures covered: cardiology, cellular gene therapies and substance-abuse disorder programs. The benefit is retroactive to Jan. 1. For life-threatening medical problems, Amazon offers to $10,000 in travel reimbursements.
The maker of the iPhone said its health insurance provider will cover travel and medical costs of employees who want to get an abortion. Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook announced the benefit in September 2021 after the Texas anti-abortion law went into effect. That law says that except for medical emergencies, doctors may not perform an abortion if they have “detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child" though what constitutes a heartbeat is a matter of debate. It can be enforced by ordinary citizens filing lawsuits against anyone who aids an abortion. Cook spoke during a meeting for all of the tech giant's 160,000 employees across the world, a recording of which The New York Times obtained.
Bumble and Match
The dating app Bumble, which is based in Austin, created a relief fund for people seeking an abortion in the state. “Bumble is women-founded and women-led, and from day one we’ve stood up for the most vulnerable. We’ll keep fighting against regressive laws like #SB8,” the company tweeted, referring to the Texas anti-abortion law.
The Match CEO, Shar Dubey told employees that she would personally create a fund to support Texas-based workers who had to leave the state for care, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC. Match also owns Hinge, Tinder, and OKCupid.
Citigroup also will cover costs for its employees in states such as Texas who would have to travel to another state for an abortion. It has about 200,000 employees, 8,500 of whom live in Texas. It would pay for airfare and lodging.
Microsoft will add travel expenses to its abortion and gender affirming benefits for employees in the United States. “This support is being extended to include travel expense assistance for these and other medical services where access to care is limited in availability in an employee's home geographic region,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.
Salesforce told its employees last year that it would help relocate anyone concerned about getting reproductive care. The move followed Texas's adoption of its aggressive anti-abortion law.
Starbucks will pay travel expenses for U.S. employees to get abortion or gender-confirmation procedures if those services aren't available within 100 miles of a worker’s home. The benefit will also be available to dependents of employees enrolled in its health care coverage.
Yelp was among the first to say it would cover costs for employees seeking out-of-state abortions. It wants to make sure that all of its employees have equal access to health care, the company said. The benefit will cover all of its 4,000 employees, including 200 workers in Texas. “We’ve long been a strong advocate for equality in the workplace, and believe that gender equality cannot be achieved if women’s healthcare rights are restricted," Miriam Warren, Yelp's chief diversity officer, told The Associated Press.