August 19, 2022

Disney, other US companies offer abortion travel benefits after Rowe's decision

Disney, other US companies offer abortion travel benefits after Rowe’s decision

NEW YORK, June 24 (Reuters) – American companies, including the Walt Disney Company, (DIS.N) and Facebook Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) He said Friday that they would cover employee expenses if they had to travel to obtain abortion services after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The US Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, giving victory to Republicans and religious conservatives who want to restrict or prohibit the procedure, and in some states criminalize it. Read more

Many states are expected to impose further restrictions or bans on abortions following the ruling, making it difficult for female employees to terminate pregnancies unless they travel to states where the procedure is allowed.

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For example, in Oklahoma, a bill due to take effect in August would ban abortion except in cases of medical emergencies and punish providers who violate the law with a fine of up to $100,000 and 10 years in prison. States that offer abortion protection include New York and Maryland. Read more

Disney told employees Friday that it remains committed to providing universal access to quality health care, including abortions, according to a Disney spokesperson. Read more

The company said the company’s benefits will cover the cost of employees who need to travel elsewhere to obtain care, including to obtain an abortion.

Meta, the Facebook owner, will pay travel expenses for employees seeking out-of-state reproductive care, but the company has also been “evaluating how best to do so given the legal complexities involved,” according to a spokesperson.

But Meta also moved to limit internal discussion of the ruling. Moderators on the Workplace forum have removed posts referring to abortion, citing a “respectful communications” policy that prevents employee discussions on political topics, according to a LinkedIn post by a Seattle-based Meta employee.

The employee wrote that moderators also removed links to Facebook posts by outgoing chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg condemning the ruling.

A Meta spokesperson declined to comment on internal politics when asked about reports of restricting internal discussion.

Policies in support of abortion differed between companies.

Dick sporting goods (DKS.N) CEO Lauren Hobart said on LinkedIn that the company will pay up to $4,000 in travel to employees or their family members and a support person if abortion isn’t available nearby.

Companies that provide compensation for abortion-related travel may be subject to lawsuits by anti-abortion groups, Republican-led states, and even potential criminal penalties.

Lawyers and other experts said that employers may face allegations that their policies violate state laws that prohibit, facilitate, assist, or abet abortion.

Lyft . Passenger Transport Company (LYFT.O) It said it would legally protect drivers in cases of abortion, saying it would expand the latest policy as new state laws are passed. “No driver should ask a passenger where they are going and why,” a driver spokesperson said.

A draft Supreme Court ruling on abortion was leaked in May. At that time, many other companies, including online review site Yelp (YELP.N)Microsoft Corporation (MSFT.O)and Tesla (TSLA.O)They said they would help cover the cost of travel for employees seeking reproductive services. apple (AAPL.O) She reiterated her support for staff in making their own decisions about reproductive health and that her healthcare covered travel for services not available nearby.

The ruling “endangers women’s health, deprives them of their human rights, and threatens to undo the progress we’ve made toward gender equality in the workplace since the Roe era,” co-founder and CEO of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppelman, said Friday.

Alaska Air Group (ALK.N)D., the mother of Alaska Airlines, said Friday that it “reimburses travel for certain medical procedures and treatments if they are not available where you live. Today’s Supreme Court ruling does not change that.”

Other companies that offer this feature include Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N)and online dating sites OkCupid and Bumble Inc (BMBL.O)Netflix, Inc (NFLX.O) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), the largest bank in the country. Read more

OkCupid has sent in-app messages to customers in 26 states potentially banning abortions, preparing for a political battle. “Act now by calling your representatives and claiming freedom and choice,” said a copy of the message tweeted by Melissa Hubley, Marketing Director of OkCupid.

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Additional reporting by Nivedita Balu and Teyashi Datta in Bengaluru, Don Chmelevsky in Los Angeles, Doinsula Oladipo and Daniel Wisner in New York and David Shepardson in Washington. Written by Anna Driver and Peter Henderson; Editing by Bill Bercrot and Rosalba O’Brien

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.