Companies Announce Support for Employees Facing Tough Abortion Laws

About half the states in the U.S. have implemented restrictions on abortion, and some have tightened these restrictions recently. One of the most drastic examples is a recent Texas law known as SB 8, which bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. This often occurs after six weeks of pregnancy. For another example, Oklahoma has passed a law that imposes a steep fine and years in prison for performing an abortion.

Several major companies have responded to this trend by providing greater protections for their employees. For example, Yelp has announced that it will reimburse employees if they need to travel outside their state for abortion care. Understanding the importance of employee privacy, Yelp will allow employees who use this policy to submit travel receipts to their health insurance providers directly. Only about five percent of Yelp employees are based in Texas, but employees in other states with restrictive laws can access this benefit as well.

About 13 percent of Citigroup employees live in Texas. The investment banking company has announced that it will cover travel expenses for employees in Texas and similar states who need to travel for an abortion. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that Apple’s medical insurance will help cover costs for employees who need to travel due to the Texas abortion restrictions. (Apple has expanded its presence in Texas recently.) Salesforce and certain other employers have even offered to relocate employees who are currently living in states that have imposed abortion bans.

The Texas law allows people to sue someone who aids or abets an abortion. In theory, this could include rideshare drivers who transport a woman to abortion services. Uber and Lyft have addressed this concern by offering to pay legal fees for their drivers if they are sued under this law.

Near the end of its term this summer, the Supreme Court will decide a Mississippi case challenging Roe v. Wade and other Supreme Court decisions vindicating the right to abortion. The outcome of this case may affect many abortion restrictions nationwide, either forcing states to retreat or emboldening them to move forward.

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