These companies will help employees in red states get around abortion bans

Amazon has become the latest company to cover employee travel costs for abortion care. The company told its employees it will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for medical treatments including abortions, according to a letter seen by Reuters. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the nature of the Reuters report to CNN Business.
The company’s announcement reflects similar moves by Citigroup, Yelp, Uber and Lyft to help employees bypass Republican-led efforts in several states to effectively ban abortion. It comes just hours after a report by Politico indicated that the Supreme Court was ready to overturn the Roe v. valley.

CNN has not independently confirmed the Politico report, and a Supreme Court spokesperson declined to comment.

If Roe is voided, legislatures in 26 states have pending laws indicating they intend to ban abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights. This may leave many women in need of abortion services hundreds or thousands of miles from accessing the procedure – which is unsustainable for many.

US companies are increasingly drawing from the political sidelines on the abortion issue in response to pressure from investors, customers and employees. Companies are also struggling to attract and retain talent and worry about the impact these countries’ anti-abortion laws can have on their workers.
Executives are also learning how difficult it is to craft a political message without angering one side or the other. Disney, in particular, is grappling with the political ramifications of coming out against the so-called No Less Gay Law in Florida. CEO Bob Chuck initially failed to condemn the legislation before backing down and apologizing to staff and fans who were outraged by the legislation. After Disney publicly opposed the law and pledged to help repeal it, state lawmakers passed legislation to rescind the company’s longstanding status as a special autonomous region.
Last year, as several states pushed through legislation that would make it more difficult for some citizens to vote, hundreds of CEOs from companies including Amazon, Google, BlackRock and Starbucks signed a statement opposing the bills.

Here are some of the most prominent companies offering extended assistance to employees in states that are cutting back on abortion care.

Amazon

The country’s second-largest private employer said it will cover up to $4,000 a year in travel expenses for employees seeking non-life-threatening medical care, including abortions, if care is not available within 100 miles of where they live. .

City Group

Citigroup in March became one of the largest US companies committing to cover employee travel costs if they needed to leave their state to seek an abortion.

“In response to changes in reproductive health care laws in some U.S. states, beginning in 2022, we are introducing travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources,” Citi said in a letter to shareholders as part of its annual proxy statement.

stutter

The dating app company, based in Austin, Texas, in September created a fund to “support the reproductive rights of women and people across the gender spectrum who seek abortion in Texas.”

The company said on Twitter last week that the legislation, which amounts to a near-total abortion ban in the state, went into effect last fall.

The relief money will go to organizations that support women’s reproductive rights, including Fund Texas Choice, according to Bumble.

Levi Strauss

The clothing company has described protecting access to reproductive care as an important business issue.

“Efforts to restrict or criminalize such access will have far-reaching consequences for the American workforce,” the company told CNN Business in a statement. “Given what’s at stake, business leaders need to make their voices heard and act to protect the health and well-being of our employees. And that means protecting reproductive rights.”

Under the Levi’s benefits plan, employees can be reimbursed for travel expenses for services not available in their home state, including abortion. It said part-time employees and others who were not included in the company’s benefits plan are also eligible for compensation.

Lyft and Uber

Both ride-sharing competitors announced in September that they would create legal defense funds to protect any drivers who might be sued under Texas law for driving a miscarried person.

Elizabeth Seiber, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, says the wording of the law leaves open the possibility that the driver will be sued, perhaps even if they don’t know a miscarriage is happening.

Lyft also said it will donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood “to ensure transportation is never a barrier to accessing health care.”

Match group

The Dallas-based company that owns Match.com and several dating apps including Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge, also announced in September a fund to ensure its employees and families would be able to seek reproductive care outside of Texas.

“The company generally does not take political positions unless they are relevant to our business,” CEO Shar Dube said in a note at the time. “But in this case, I myself, as a Texas woman, could not be silent.”

sales force

Salesforce announced in September that it would help its employees and their families if they wanted to leave Texas after the state passed the country’s most restrictive abortion law.

The cloud computing company told its 56,000 employees that they “stand with all of our women in Salesforce and everywhere.”

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce at the time, tweeted: “Ohana if you want to move, we’ll help you get out of Texas. Your choice.” (“Ohana” is a Hawaiian word meaning “family.”)

howling

A representative for the San Francisco-based company said its employees’ health insurance already covers abortion care, but starting in May, Yelp will cover travel expenses for any US employees and their families who need to travel out of state to access abortion care.

The benefit extends to employees and dependents affected by any current or future restrictions on reproductive rights.

As a primarily remote company with a distributed workforce, one representative said, “It is our priority to offer our employees consistent healthcare coverage, no matter where they live.”

CNN Business’s Catherine Thorbeck, Ramisha Maarouf, Charles Riley and David Goldman contributed reporting.

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