After the Supreme Court’s ruling ending federal abortion rights Friday, several companies released statements reaffirming their commitment to helping employees access health care services they may not be able to obtain in their state.
Companies began to come out with policies on covering travel expenses for employees who need abortions in May, when a leaked memo from Supreme Court justices previewed their decision on the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This small group included Starbucks, Tesla, Yelp, Airbnb, Microsoft, Netflix, Patagonia, DoorDash, JPMorgan Chase, Levi Strauss & Co., PayPal and Reddit. Others, including Disney, Meta, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Condé Nast, joined them Friday when the decision became final, although most of them avoided making public statements directly referencing the ruling.
“As the world’s most broadly based health care company, we strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities and put health within reach for the people we serve,” Johnson & Johnson said Friday. “We also believe health care decisions are best determined by individuals in consultation with their health care provider.”
Levi Strauss & Co. called on business leaders to take a stand against the ruling. “Protection of reproductive rights is a critical business issue impacting our workforce, our economy and progress toward gender and racial equity,” the company said. “Given what is at stake, business leaders need to make their voices heard.”
A spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest bank, with about 170,000 U.S. employees, said the company was focused on equal access to health care for all its employees. She highlighted a June 1 memo alerting employees that their travel costs would be covered if they needed to go more than 50 miles to receive certain medical procedures, including abortions.
Reddit also said its employees could get a stipend to cover travel for procedures such as abortions. “Our benefits programs are designed to support the health and safety of our employees, and we also have robust policies to support women in the workplace,” said a representative for the company.
Although a majority of these travel policies followed the leaked memo, the trend began last year, after Texas enacted a ban on abortion after six weeks. With abortion rights now overturned on the federal level, there is more pressure for companies to respond, especially for those with headquarters in one of the 13 states that have measures in place to ban abortion immediately or very quickly.
“Employers like us may be the last line of defense,” said Sarah Jackel, chief operating officer of Civitech. The Texas-based company, which employs 55 people and builds technology tools for political campaigns, committed to covering travel expenses for workers seeking an abortion immediately after Texas’ ban went into effect.
Jackel said the policy had strong support from both employees and investors, although the company declined to say if anyone had used it. “It makes good business sense,” Jackel said. “There’s no reason we should be putting our employees in the position of having to choose between keeping their job or carrying out an unwanted pregnancy.”
Here’s what other companies had to say:
— Warner Brothers said it would cover travel expenses for abortions. “In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision, we immediately expanded our health care benefits options to cover transportation expenses for employees and their covered family members who need to travel to access abortion and reproductive care,” said a company spokesperson.
— Disney said it would cover travel expenses as well: “We recognize the impact that today’s Supreme Court ruling could have on many Americans,” wrote Paul Richardson, head of human resources, and Pascale Thomas, a vice president.
— A spokesperson for Meta said: “We intend to offer travel expense reimbursements, to the extent permitted by law, for employees who will need them to access out-of-state health care and reproductive services. We are in the process of assessing how best to do so given the legal complexities involved.”
— Bank of America said: “We have expanded the list of medical treatments that are eligible for travel expense reimbursement. This list will now include cancer treatment, organ transplants at centers of excellence, reproductive health care including abortion, and hospital admissions for mental health conditions.”
— Intuit said Friday it would cover employee travel expenses to get abortions. “We support our employees’ access to comprehensive health care — no matter where they live,” the company said. “We will continue to do what we can to best support employees’ ongoing access to the full range of health care that they believe is right for them.”
— Condé Nast said it would cover travel and lodging for employees to get abortions. “It is a crushing blow to reproductive rights that have been protected for nearly half a century,” said CEO Roger Lynch.
— Zillow said it would reimburse its employees up to $7,500 when significant travel is required for medical procedures, including abortions. “We strongly support our employees’ right to make health care choices that are right for them, and we will continue to do so,” a spokesperson said.
— Box, which had already said it would cover employee travel expenses for abortions, said it was “disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
— Salesforce said it would relocate employees concerned about their ability to get abortions in Texas. “We will continue to offer our long-standing travel and relocation benefits to ensure employees and their families have access to critical health care services,” a spokesperson said.
— Patagonia reaffirmed its commitment to covering employee travel expenses for abortions: “Caring for employees extends beyond basic health insurance,” the company said on LinkedIn. “It means supporting employees’ choices around if or when they have a child.”
— Dick’s Sporting Goods said it would provide up to $4,000 in travel reimbursement for employees who live in states that restrict abortion access and that the policy would apply to any spouse or dependent covered by the company’s medical plan.
— Lyft, which had previously said it would cover travel expenses for abortions, said the Supreme Court’s decision “will hurt millions of women by taking away access to safe, and private reproductive health care services.” It also said it was expanding its “legal defense commitment” to protecting drivers who may be sued for taking people to clinics. “No driver should have to ask a rider where they are going and why,” Lyft said.
— Uber emphasized the company’s insurance coverage for “a range of reproductive health benefits, including pregnancy termination” and its commitment to covering travel expenses for employees accessing health care services. “We will also continue to stand behind drivers, reimbursing legal expenses if any driver is sued under state law for providing transportation on our platform to a clinic,” the company said.
— BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti told staff on Friday that the company will now provide stipends for employees who need to travel for abortions. “The decision is so regressive and horrific for women that it compels us to step up as a company to ensure that any of our employees who are impacted have funding and access to safe abortions as needed,” he said.
— Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s co-founder and CEO, called the decision a threat to gender equality in the workplace. “Business leaders must step up to support the health and safety of their employees by speaking out against the wave of abortion bans that will be triggered as a result of this decision and call on Congress to codify Roe into law,” he said. Yelp had earlier pledged to cover travel expenses for abortion.