US corporations react to abortion ruling

Major companies have vowed to cover employees’ travel costs for reproductive services or arrange relocation to another state

Major American companies, including Disney, Google, Meta, Netflix, have come forward to express their commitment to protect employees’ access to healthcare and reproductive services, in the wake of a US Supreme Court decision on Friday to overturn the nationwide right to abortion.

In a letter to Google employees, chief people officer Fiona Cicconi wrote that in order to “support Googlers and their dependents, our US benefits plan and health insurance covers out-of-state medical procedures that are not available where an employee lives and works. Googlers can also apply for relocation without justification.”

Walt Disney Co. reassured staff that it remains “committed to removing barriers and providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care,” and said it has “processes in place so that an employee who may be unable to access care in one location has affordable coverage for receiving similar levels of care in another location.”

Facebook parent Meta Platforms also confirmed it would “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,” according to a spokesperson.

Netflix will also offer reimbursements to “full-time US employees and their dependents who need to travel to get an abortion,” according to NBC News.

In a memo to employees, Paramount reportedly offered “coverage for birth control, elective abortion care, miscarriage care and certain related travel expenses if the covered health service, such as abortion, is prohibited in your area.”

The wave of statements from American corporations was triggered by a US Supreme Court decision on Friday to remove federal abortion protections, placing the responsibility for legalizing or banning the procedure upon individual states. The decision was widely anticipated, as a draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion was leaked in early May. Since then, Amazon, Apple, Tesla, PayPal, Starbucks and others have issued similar reassurances, promising to protect employees’ access to healthcare and reproductive services.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling means the responsibility for legislating on abortion falls to state governments, fewer than half of which have laws on the books banning or restricting the procedure. Several states, including Missouri, have passed so-called “trigger laws” designed to take effect should Roe be overturned, while other states have laws expressly protecting a woman’s right to abortion.

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