Large US Corporations Publicly Condemn SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

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Large companies are revealing and have already revealed initiatives that will help employees overcome current and potential future GOP-backed abortion restrictions. These initiatives have suddenly ended up underpinned by renewed senses of urgency after a draft majority opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court leaked indicating that a majority of Justices were at least tentatively in favor of overturning the court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which established the legally recognized nationwide right to an abortion. Overturning that ruling would leave handling abortion access to state leaders.

As one example of the potential short-term ramifications of the draft majority opinion or something similar to it becoming final, Texas already has a law in effect that would ban almost all abortions at any point of pregnancy if the Supreme Court’s Roe decision is overturned. Those measures are distinct from the measures currently in place in Texas that ban almost all abortions after some six weeks of pregnancy, a point when many who are pregnant don’t even know it. Now, Amazon is among the latest large companies to reveal efforts to overcome these threats. The company indicated it would cover as much as $4,000 in travel costs per year for individual employees pursuing a variety of medical treatments, including abortions. That travel expenses coverage would be available if the sought after care isn’t available within 100 miles of the employee’s residence.

Citigroup announced a similar initiative in March. “In response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the US, beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources,” that company said. Other corporate efforts have been in the form of legal defense funds announced by Uber and Lyft to cover potential legal vulnerabilities for drivers who could be targeted under Texas’s abortion restrictions. The Texas law covering abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy allows for lawsuits against individuals suspected of involvement in the procurement of a prohibited abortion — meaning those who drive people to abortions outlawed by the provisions might be sued. Among other corporate moves, Yelp will — beginning in May — cover travel costs for any U.S. employees or dependents of said employees who have to leave their state to obtain abortions. As a Yelp representative explained, “It’s a priority for us to offer our employees consistent healthcare coverage, regardless of where they live.”

Amazon is the second-largest private employer in the United States, so some of these corporate initiatives stand to have a substantial impact. Per the Guttmacher Institute, 26 state legislatures are poised to ban abortions in the event that the Roe decision is overturned. Condemnation for the draft majority opinion turning back the clock on abortion rights has been widespread. Republicans, meanwhile, have focused much of their ire on the fact that the draft document — the authenticity of which has been confirmed by Chief Justice John Roberts — was leaked at all, although that’s really not the main issue here, even if the nature of the leak is a compelling question. One issue — the leak — won’t really have any immediate impacts on the lives of Americans. The substance of the leak, however, could dramatically change U.S. health care. It’s totally unclear who leaked the document to reporters or what political affiliation they have.