Disney and different US firms provide journey concessions for abortions after Roe choice

NEW YORK, June 24 (Reuters) – US companies including Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) said on Friday they will cover employee expenses, if they must travel to the US Supreme Court for abortion services Roe v Wade was overturned.

The US Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 ruling recognizing a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, handing a meaningful victory to Republicans and religious conservatives who want to limit or ban the procedure and criminalize it in some states. Continue reading

Many states are expected to further restrict or ban abortions after the ruling, making it more difficult for female employees to terminate pregnancies unless they travel to states where the procedure is legal.

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In Oklahoma, for example, a bill due to take effect in August will ban abortions except for medical emergencies and punish providers who break the law with fines of up to $100,000 and 10 years in prison. States that offer abortion protections include New York and Maryland. Continue reading

According to a Disney spokesman, Disney told employees Friday that it remains committed to providing universal access to quality healthcare, including for abortion. Continue reading

The company’s benefits will cover the costs of employees who have to travel elsewhere to access medical care, including an abortion, it said.

Meta will reimburse travel expenses for employees seeking out-of-state reproductive care, but the company was also evaluating “how best to do this given the legal complexities involved,” according to a spokesman.

Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS.N) chief executive Lauren Hobart said on LinkedIn that the company would pay up to $4,000 in travel for employees or their family members and a companion if abortion wasn’t available nearby.

Companies that offer reimbursements for abortion-related travel could be vulnerable to lawsuits from anti-abortion groups and Republican-run states, and even potential criminal penalties.

Attorneys and other experts said employers could face claims that their policies violate state laws that prohibit, facilitate, or encourage and encourage abortion.

Ride-hailing company Lyft (LYFT.O) said it would legally shield drivers in abortion cases and said it would expand a current policy if new state laws are passed. “No driver should have to ask a driver where they’re going and why,” a spokesman said.

A draft of the Supreme Court ruling on abortion was leaked in May. At the time, many other companies, including online review site Yelp (YELP.N), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), and Tesla (TSLA.O), said they would help defray travel expenses for employees providing reproductive services take advantage of. Apple (AAPL.O) reiterated that it supports employees in making their own reproductive health decisions and that its health coverage covers travel for services not available locally.

Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and CEO of Yelp, said Friday the ruling “endangers women’s health, denies them their human rights and threatens to undo the progress we’ve made on gender equality in the workplace since Roe. “

Alaska Air Group (ALK.N), parent company of Alaska Airlines, said Friday that it “will reimburse travel for certain medical procedures and treatments if they are not available where you live.” Today’s Supreme Court decision doesn’t change that.”

Other companies offering the benefit include Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), online dating sites OkCupid and Bumble Inc (BMBL.O), Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N ), the country’s largest bank. Continue reading

Sending in-app messages to customers in 26 states likely to ban abortion, OkCupid braced for a political battle. “Act now by calling your representatives and demanding freedom and choice,” said a copy of the message, tweeted by OkCupid’s chief marketing officer, Melissa Hobley.

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Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru, Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles, Doyinsola Oladipo and Daniel Wiessner in New York and David Shepardson in Washington; Writing from Anna Driver; Edited by Bill Berkrot and Rosalba O’Brien

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