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List grows of companies that will cover travel expenses for employee abortions

The entrance to Walt Disney World, whose executives avoided the word “abortion” in a memo to staff on health care coverage, which will cover travel expenses for employees who need abortions.EVE EDELHEIT/NYT

After the Supreme Court’s ruling Friday that ended federal abortion rights, several companies released statements reaffirming their commitment to helping employees gain access to health care services they may not be able to obtain in their state.

Companies began in May to come out with policies covering travel expenses for employees who need abortions, after 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, PayPal, and Reddit.

Others, including The Walt Disney Co., 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.

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Johnson & Johnson said in a statement Friday that it strove to “put health within reach for the people we serve,” adding, “We also believe health care decisions are best determined by individuals in consultation with their health care provider.”

Levi Strauss 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 US 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.

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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 soon.

“Employers like us may be the last line of defense,” said Sarah Jackel, the chief operating officer of Civitech, a company in Texas that employs 55 people and builds technology tools for political campaigns. Civitech 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 added. “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.”