Companies across the country are expanding employee benefits after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, sweeping out the constitutional right to abortion.
Texas passed Senate Bill 8, otherwise known as the “heartbeat bill,” earlier this year. After a draft of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion was made public last month, some companies responded by assuring employees working in Texas and other states with restrictive laws that they would still be able to obtain care.
Among those companies are JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank. It employs nearly 14,600 in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, and it has announced that it will pay for employees to travel to another state if needed to obtain a legal abortion. The benefit is effective beginning July 1.
Dallas-based Match Group set up a fund in October for Texas employees who need safe access to abortion care through a partnership with Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles. The company is evaluating ways to expand the policy to all of its U.S. employees, including remote employees in trigger law states. Match’s health care plans cover travel and lodging costs for any employee who needs to travel out of state to receive care.
In May, California-based software company Salesforce announced that it will relocate employees worried about access to abortions or other medical procedures, according to CNBC. Salesforce has an office located on North Field Street with over 1,000 employees.
The decision creates a divided patchwork of benefits for companies operating in several states, leaving corporate America in the middle of the issue. It also affects pharmacy operations because they sell morning after pills, which are considered a type of birth control.
Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer said on CNBC the decision has “complicated” company benefits packages, and more companies may have to add travel benefits.
”I will listen to employees and state legislatures and try to find a middle ground,” Brewer said.
Businesses that speak out may be targeted by the Texas legislature, according to the Texas Tribune. Fourteen Republican members of the state House of Representatives have pledged to introduce bills in the coming legislative session that would keep corporations from doing business in Texas if the firms pay for out-of-state abortions.
Southwest Airlines will not make immediate changes to the carrier’s health benefits but will continue to “evaluate the landscape,” Southwest Airlines spokesperson Chris Mainz said Friday in an email.
“As always, our primary focus is the health and well-being of our employees and their families, and to that end, we will work to support our people’s needs while remaining compliant with state and federal laws as an employer,” Mainz said. “We are not making any immediate changes to our health benefits, but we continuously evaluate the landscape to ensure we are offering benefits to support our people.”
After being asked about the company’s policy in the aftermath of the overturn, AT&T sent a statement to The Dallas Morning News: “The health of our employees and their families is important to our company, and we provide benefits that cover the cost of travel for medical procedures that are not available within 100 miles of their home,” AT&T spokesperson Jim Greer said in the emailed statement.
When asked whether those medical procedures included abortion, Greer wrote “it covers medical procedures.”
Lauren Hobart, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, issued a statement on LinkedIn shortly after the ruling saying that all employees can receive up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to get an abortion at “the nearest location where that care is legally available.”
The coverage extends to spouses and dependents on the company’s medical plan, as well as one support person.
Overturning Roe renders abortion illegal in nearly half the country. The current Texas law bans the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy.
Staff writers Maria Halkias, Irene Wright and Jake Piazza contributed to this report.