These Companies Will Help Staffers Pay for Out-of-State Abortions

In response to the Supreme Court potentially flipping Roe v. Wade, several companies have unveiled plans to help employees get abortion care

While the U.S. Supreme Court has not actually overturned Roe v. Wade yet—potentially preventing millions of women in as many as 26 states from getting legal abortions—a number of companies are already taking steps to assist their employees who seek access to such procedures.

United Talent Agency is the latest company to announce that it would reimburse staffers for travel expenses relating to reproductive health services that are not accessible in their states of residence, according to a memo obtained by Variety.

In the statement, UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said, “We’re doing this to support the right to choose that has been a bedrock of settled law for almost half a century. Several states have already introduced restrictive legislation, and the draft Supreme Court ruling leaked yesterday, if it comes to pass, could make abortion illegal in more than half of the country.”

On Monday, Amazon, which is the second-largest U.S. private employer, said it would pay staff $4,000 in travel expenses annually for non-life threatening medical treatments including abortions, according to Reuters. The e-commerce giant’s new benefit, effective to Jan. 1 retroactively, applies if a procedure is not available within 100 miles of an employee’s home and virtual care is not possible.

But even before the Supreme Court’s ruling leaked earlier this week, some private employers announced they would offer benefits to their employees who can’t access abortions in their own states due to the wave of Republican-led efforts to ban the procedure, National Public Radio reports. For example, Citigroup—the New York-based bank—noted in an SEC filing in April that it would “provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources” starting this year.

Back in September, Apple announced that its insurance provider would help cover travel costs for workers who have to travel out of state for abortion care, Mashable reports.

Last month, Yelp told staff it would roll out its new benefit in May, which would cover expenses for its employees and their spouses who must travel elsewhere, according to the New York Times. Under the new policy, Yelp employees can submit receipts for travel expenses directly to their health insurance company, CEO Miriam Warren said, adding, “So no one else at Yelp is ever going to know who is accessing this, or how or when.”

Rideshare companies Lyft and Uber also said they would pay legal fees for any of their drivers sued under anti-abortion laws for helping people who are seeking abortion care, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. That offer came in response to a Texas law that empowers private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. In September, Lyft CEO Logan Green called the law “an attack on women’s access to healthcare and on the right to choose,” and last week said the company is working with health providers to cover the cost of rides for people in Texas and Oklahoma—which outlawed abortion last month—who seek out-of-state care.

Levi Strauss & Co. said in a statement on Wednesday that staffers would get reimbursed for travel expenses for health care services, including abortions, not available in their state through its benefits plan, NPR reports. Part-time hourly workers will also be able to seek reimbursement.

“We know this is a fraught conversation; it’s not something we enter into lightly. But women make up 58 percent of our global workforce, and in recent years, numerous employees have expressed to leadership their growing alarm over the rollback of all forms of reproductive care,” the clothing brand said, according to NPR.

“Our position on this is in keeping with our efforts to support employees and family members at all stages of their lives.”

The list of companies offering similar benefits is expected to grow as the Supreme Court prepares to finalize their decision, which could arrive sometime in the next two months.

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