Disney and other US corporations offer abortion travel allowance after Roe’s decision

NEW YORK, June 24 (Reuters) – U.S. companies including Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) said on Friday they would cover the expenses of employees s they had to travel for abortion services after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

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

Many states are expected to further restrict or ban abortions as a result of the ruling, making it difficult for employees to terminate a pregnancy unless they travel to states where the procedure is permitted.

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For example, in Oklahoma, a bill due to take effect in August bans abortion except in medical emergencies and penalizes providers who break the law with up to $100,000 in fines and 10 years in prison. States offering abortion protections include New York and Maryland. Read more

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

Company benefits will cover the cost of employees who must travel to another location to access care, including to obtain an abortion, he said.

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

Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS.N) general manager Lauren Hobart said on LinkedIn that the company will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses for employees or their family members and a support person if abortion was not available nearby.

Companies that offer refunds for abortion-related travel could face lawsuits from anti-abortion groups and Republican-run states, and even potential criminal penalties.

Lawyers and other experts have said employers could face allegations that their policies violate state laws prohibiting, facilitating or aiding and abetting abortions.

Transportation company Lyft (LYFT.O) said it would legally protect drivers in abortion cases, saying it would expand a recent policy as new state laws are passed. “No driver should have to ask a passenger where they are going and why,” a spokesperson said.

A draft Supreme Court decision on abortion was leaked in May. At that time, many other companies, including online review site Yelp (YELP.N), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Tesla (TSLA.O), said they would help defray the cost of movement of employees in search of reproduction services. Apple (AAPL.O) reiterated that it helps employees make their own reproductive health decisions and that its health care covers travel for services not available nearby.

Yelp co-founder and chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman said Friday the decision “puts women’s health at risk, strips them of their human rights, and threatens to undo the progress we’ve made toward gender equality. in the workplace since Roe”.

Alaska Air Group (ALK.N), parent company of Alaska Airlines, said on 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 offering this benefit include Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), 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 sent in-app messages to customers in 26 states likely to ban abortions, bracing for a political fight. “Take action now by calling your reps and demanding freedom and choice,” a copy of the post tweeted by Melissa Hobley, OkCupid’s chief marketing officer, said.

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Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru, Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles, Doyinsola Oladipo and Daniel Wiessner in New York and David Shepardson in Washington; Written by Anna Driver; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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