Large companies in the United States such as Disney, JP Morgan and Meta have agreed to cover the travel expenses of their employees who decide to abort.
The announcement comes after a landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court that struck down the constitutional right to abortion. The ruling paves the way for each state to individually ban abortion in its jurisdiction.As a consequence, millions of women in that country now face restrictions on terminating their pregnancies.
Before the ruling, companies like Amazon, Yelp and the banking group CitiGroup had already announced that they would make it easier for their employees to travel to other states to circumvent abortion bans. After the ruling, however, the number of companies confirming that they will cover these travel expenses through their health insurance plans has increased.
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said on Twitter that the court’s decision “endangers women’s health,” adding that “business leaders must speak out.”
I support those who decide to abort
In a statement, Disney said it told female employees that it recognized the impact of the Supreme Court ruling, and that the company remained committed to providing “comprehensive access” to affordable health care, including family planning and reproductive health care , ” no matter where they live.”
Disney employs some 80,000 people at its Florida resort, where Governor Ron DeSantis has already enacted a law that takes effect July 1 banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Banking giant JP Morgan has also told its American female employees that it will cover travel expenses for medical services, including “legal abortions,” according to a June 1 memo cited by Reuters.
“We are focused on the health and well-being of our employees, and we want to ensure equitable access to all benefits,” a bank spokeswoman said on Friday. Goldman Sachs, another major US investment bank, also said it would cover travel expenses for female employees who need to go to another state for an abortion starting July 1, according to Reuters. Meta, the company that owns Facebook, said it intended to reimburse travel expenses where allowed by law, “for female employees who need them to access out-of-state health care.”
“We are in the process of evaluating the best way to do this, given the legal complexities involved,” a Meta spokesperson said. Other companies have indicated they will take similar steps, including publisher Condé Nast, jeans brand Levi Strauss, and ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber.
Lyft also said it will legally protect drivers from abortion, with a company spokesperson saying “no driver should have to ask a passenger where they’re going and why.”
Measures to restrict abortion
Abortion will not automatically become illegal in the US, but with the Supreme Court ruling each state will be able to decide autonomously whether to allow abortions and under what conditions.
A total of 13 states have already passed “activation” or “trigger” laws, which come into force upon the annulment of the Roe vs. Wade ruling, which since 1973 guaranteed the right to abortion in the US. More than 20 states are taking steps to limit abortion access , according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Companies that offer to cover the cost of traveling to another state for the procedure are likely to face a strong backlash from anti-abortion Republicans. Texas lawmakers have already threatened Citigroup and Lyft with legal repercussions.
The president of the Republican Party of that state, Matt Rinaldi, urged Republicans not to use Citi’s services.
Abortion is a very divisive issue in the United States.
According to a recent Pew Research poll, 61% of American adults think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases; while 37% think that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.