Roe vs Wade | Growing number of firms vow to pay travel costs for staff to access abortions

Growing number of firms vow to pay travel costs for staff to access abortions

Major US firms have pledged to cover travel expenses for staff who may have to cross state lines for an abortion, after last week’s controversial law change.

The Supreme Court voted to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalised abortions nationwide. This is expected to result in potentially millions of American women crossing state lines to access abortions, as many states have taken the opportunity to effectively ban abortion.

The controversial decision has seen several firms reassure employees working in the affected states that, should the law be changed, they will have be aided through a range of measures, including expenses to travel out-of-state for legal abortions, and support in relocating to a different altogether, should they wish.

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Large corporations including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and JP Morgan have already added “critical healthcare” to their employees’ benefit packages, meaning they’ll cover travel expenses for any employees seeking an abortion as part of their medical benefits, where legally possible. Apple says this is already possible under its existing benefits package, and Disney, Netflix and Condé Nast are among those companies who say they’ll cover these travel expenses.

According to the BBC, Disney has also told employees it is committed to giving them "comprehensive access" to affordable healthcare, including family planning and reproductive care, "no matter where they live". The company employs around 80,000 people at its resort in Florida, where a new law begins in July, banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

In early May, Amazon announced it would reimburse staff in the US who travel for a wide range of non-life threatening medical treatments, including elective abortions.

The firm told its staff will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for non-life threatening medical treatments including abortions, according to a message seen by Reuters news agency. Amazon's new benefit, effective to Jan. 1 retroactively, applies if an operation is not available within 100 miles (161 km) of an employee's home and virtual care is not possible, the company's message said.

In a statement on LinkedIn, Cameron Maclean, Senior Director of Solution Engineering at cloud-based software firm Salesforce, confirmed the company’s bold stance on the matter.

Writing before the law was reversed, Maclean said: “If Roe vs Wade is reversed, and your state decides to limit access to your own reproductive rights, and you are a Salesforce employee, we will pay to relocate you to a location where those rights are not limited.

“I'm properly disgusted that regardless of your position on abortion, that the debate about rights to your own body has reopened. If you don't have a uterus, you are not entitled to an opinion in this debate. Full stop.”

Maclean concluded: “Women, we stand by you.”

Such decisions show how companies are eager to retain and attract talent in locations that remain important to their operations despite legal changes impacting employees' health.

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