Some employers are offering financial aid for abortion-related costs ahead of final SCOTUS ruling

A leaked draft opinion indicates that the Supreme Court is about to overturn the landmark ruling on abortion rights.
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On Monday night, a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court was made public by Politico, revealing that the court’s conservative majority may have voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established a constitutional right to an abortion. If the Supreme Court sticks to the decision, it would result in the immediate or imminent outlawing of abortion in 13 states with “trigger laws” already in place. The Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) research and policy organization, has predicted that 26 states are “certain or likely” to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 58% of women in the US aged 13–44, “live in a state hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights.” Following restrictive bills passed in states including Texas, Florida, and Arizona, some employers have started developing policies intended to help employees seeking access to medical procedures that are prohibited in states with new abortion restrictions.

Workplace issue. Anthony Johndrow, co-founder and CEO of the business consulting firm Reputation Economy Advisors, told CNN that employers may have no choice but to take a stance on the issue. “Companies are going to have to deal with their own employees demanding action, and answers for donations made to politicians who support the bans,” Johndrow said.

There are already a number of corporations offering employees help to access some reproductive services:

  • Amazon announced on May 2 that it will cover travel costs of up to $4,000 annually for employees who need to travel out-of-state for “non-life-threatening” medical care not offered within a 100-mile radius of the employee’s home, including elective abortions.
  • Dallas-based Match Group (which owns dating apps Tinder, OkCupid, and Hinge) is working with a third party to confidentially arrange for travel and lodging for any Texas-based employee who needs an abortion, paid for out of a fund set up by current Match CEO Shar Dubey.
  • Levi Strauss says it will reimburse travel costs for employees seeking health care out of state, including for abortion, for those covered by the company’s health care plan, including part-time workers.
  • Uber and Lyft have promised to pay any legal fees incurred by drivers who transport people seeking abortions in Oklahoma (the bill is passed and expected to be signed soon) and Texas, where anyone aiding an abortion can face up to $10,000 in civil penalties.
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Big picture. CNBC reported that many corporations, including Disney, American Airlines, and Microsoft have yet to issue statements on the draft SCOTUS opinion. Other companies, including Yelp and Bumble, have released statements as of May 5, with Yelp saying that the end of Roe would, “jeopardize the human rights of millions of women who stand to lose the liberty to make decisions over their own bodies.”

According to Fortune, “changes in abortion laws could also see employees begin asking for relocations, which businesses will have to react to.” The official SCOTUS ruling wasn’t expected until June, but employers are likely closely watching to see what happens next as public pressure mounts.—KP

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