Starbucks, Amazon, and other companies are making sure employees in states with restrictive laws or outright bans on abortion have access to safe health care.
And now, in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court opinion draft that suggests the Court will revoke Roe v. Wade — the landmark court case that made access to a safe, legal abortion a constitutional right — more and more private companies in states like Texas and Oklahoma are stepping in where public service has failed.
Here are all of the corporations who have promised to help employees in the 31 states who already face an abortion ban or will face one in the future, along with the kind of benefits they’re offering, from starting relief funds to covering abortion-related travel expenses.
The second-largest private employer in the U.S. told employees it would pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses a year for non-life threatening medical treatments, including abortions, if legal care isn’t available within 100 miles of where they live.
The company made the announcement May 2, 2022, but also said the new benefit was effective to January 1, 2022, retroactively.
The reimbursement is only available to employees who are enrolled in the company’s Premera or Aetna health plans, according to a memo obtained by Reuters.
In the aftermath of Texas’ passing of SB-8, Apple CEO Tim Cook told 160,000 employees during a worldwide staff meeting that the company’s insurance would cover potential abortion travel costs.
According to a recording of the meeting obtained by New York Times, Apple was “looking into whether it could aid the legal fight against the new law and that its medical insurance would help pay for Apple workers in Texas if they needed to travel to other states for an abortion.”
The dating app company, which is based in Austin, Texas, announced that it was creating a fund “supporting the reproductive rights of women and people across the gender spectrum who seek abortions in Texas” just days after SB-8 passed in September 2021.
“Bumble is women-founded and women-led, and from day one we’ve stood up for the most vulnerable. We’ll keep fighting against regressive laws like #SB8,” the company tweeted at the time.
According to Bumble, the relief funds go to organizations that support reproductive justice, like Fund Texas Choice.
Citi was one of the first public companies to update its employee healthcare policy in response to the mounting abortion bans.
On April 26, 2022, the company outlined their new policy in a regulatory filing, saying that, “In response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources.”
In a statement released May 4, 2022, Levi Strauss Co. announced that it would reimburse travel fees for employees who need to travel across state lines for access to a safe abortion.
“Under our current benefits plan, Levi Strauss & Co. employees are eligible for reimbursement for healthcare-related travel expenses for services not available in their home state, including those related to reproductive health care and abortion.”
The jean company also has a process for employees who are not enrolled in benefits, including part-time hourly workers, “can seek reimbursement for travel costs incurred under the same circumstances.”
Lyft & Uber
Rideshare apps Lyft and Uber promised to protect both passengers and drivers after the passing of SB-8 in Texas. The law puts anyone aiding the procedure — be it a doctor performing it or a driver taking someone to a clinic — at risk.
"Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why. Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride," Lyft said in a statement back in September.
Uber followed Lyft’s lead, saying that they would also cover legal fees for anyone sued under the new restrictive abortion law. Both companies reiterated that this legal fee assistance is available for Oklahoma drivers and customers after the state passed a similar ban at the end of April.
Shar Dubey, the CEO of Match Group, set up a fund to help Texas employees who need to travel out of state to seek a safe abortion. The fund is run by Dubey, not through Match Group, which owns dating apps Tinder, OKCupid, Hinge, and PlentyOfFish.
“The company generally does not take political stands unless it is relevant to our business. But in this instance, I personally, as a woman in Texas, could not keep silent,” Dubey wrote in an email to employees, obtained by Dallas Morning News.
On May 9, Microsoft announced that it would extend abortion and gender-affirming procedures for employees to include travel expense assistance.
A Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters that the company will "continue to do everything we can under the law to protect our employees' rights and support employees... This support is being extended to include travel expense assistance for these and other medical services where access to care is limited in availability in an employee's home geographic region."
In September 2021, the CEO of Salesforce, a software company with an office in Dallas, told employees that the company will help relocate anyone who has “concerns about access to reproductive healthcare in your state.”
“Salesforce will help relocate you and members of your immediate family,” the Slack message read.
On May 16, Starbucks announced it would reimburse travel expenses for employees unable to get one safely within 100 miles of their home.
“I know this is weighing on many of you, so let me be clear upfront — regardless of what the Supreme Court ends up deciding, we will always ensure our partners have access to quality health care,” Sara Kelly, the company’s acting vice president for partner resources, wrote in a memo to Starbucks employees.
The travel reimbursement is available to Starbucks partners enrolled in the company’s healthcare and covers not only travel for abortion, but also gender-affirming procedures.
On May 6, Tesla released its 2021 Impact Report, where the tech company noted that it expanded its Safety Net program and health insurance packages last year to include “travel and lodging support for those who may need to seek healthcare services that are unavailable in their home state.”
Last year, the company moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley, California, to Austin, Texas, the state with one of the strictest abortion bans.
Back in April, Yelp announced that its healthcare benefits extend to employees in Texas and other states affected by “current or future action that restricts access to covered reproductive health care,” according to New York Times.
Under the policy, employees need to submit travel receipts directly to their health insurance for reimbursement “so no one else at Yelp is ever going to know who is accessing this, or how or when,” Miriam Warren, the company’s chief diversity officer, told the Times.
After the Roe v. Wade leak, the company confirmed that it had started offering healthcare travel benefits to employees as of May 2022.
“I think it really comes down to equal access to care. In order to safeguard employees and make sure that they can get the healthcare that they need, no matter what state they live in, we need a benefit like this,” Warren told Reuters.
There is a larger conversation to be held concerning the private sector funding what should be a publicly available, government-funded resource, be it filling potholes or providing safe and equitable access to all types of medical care. Still, it is encouraging to see companies advocating for their employees and making sure they have access to the healthcare they need.