Image Source: Indian Express
As millions of women in the US face restricted access to abortions, major corporations like Disney, JP Morgan, and Facebook owner Meta have informed staff that they will reimburse employee travel fees.
It comes after a landmark decision by the US Supreme Court that invalidated the right to an abortion under the US Constitution. The ruling gives room for individual states to outlaw the practice. Similar actions had already been announced by other companies, such as Amazon.
Since the decision, however, many businesses have said they will pay for employees’ travel expenses through their health insurance policies if they leave their home state for an abortion.
No matter where they live, Disney said it had informed staff members that it understood the implications of the Supreme Court decision and remained dedicated to providing them with “complete access” to affordable healthcare, including family planning and reproductive care.
At its resort in Florida, where the governor has already signed a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy into law, Disney employs about 80,000 people. The ban is set to go into effect on July 1.
According to a staff memo dated June 1 and the Reuters news agency obtained, the financial services company JP Morgan also informed its US employees that it would pay for travel fees for medical procedures, including “legal abortions.”
Goldman Sachs, a top US investment bank, also said that starting on July 1, it would pay for workers’ travel costs if they had to seek an abortion out of state. The social networking giant Meta announced its intention to compensate employees’ travel costs when allowed by law so they can get out-of-state medical care.
A spokeswoman added, “Given the legal intricacies involved, we are evaluating how best to do so.”
Conde Nast, the maker of Vogue, Levi Strauss, and the ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber are among the other businesses that have said they’ll take such action. A spokeswoman for Lyft added that “no driver should have to ask a rider where they are going and why” and that the company will protect drivers legally in circumstances involving abortion.
Before the Supreme Court’s decision, a number of major businesses, including Amazon, review site Yelp, and banking behemoth Citigroup, had previously said that they would compensate staff who travel to get around regional bans on abortion.
Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp, stated on Twitter that the court’s ruling “endangers women’s health” and that “business leaders must speak out.”
Although individual states now have the power to determine whether and how to permit abortions, the practice will not automatically be banned in the US. Thirteen states have already approved “trigger laws” to ban abortion, which take effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The Guttmacher Institute claims that more than 20 states are taking steps to restrict access.
Republicans who oppose abortion are expected to criticize businesses that offer to pay for the expense of travel to another state for the operation.
Texas lawmakers have already warned that they will pursue legal action against Lyft and Citigroup, and the state’s Republican Party chairman Matt Rinaldi has advised Republicans not to utilize Citi’s services.
In the US, the topic of abortion is very contentious. According to a recent Pew survey, 61% of individuals believe that abortion should always be permitted or, most of the time, while 37% believe the opposite.
Opinions expressed by California Gazette contributors are their own.