In light of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday, several large employers announced they are adjusting benefits policies to help their employees continue to access abortion services.
The Walt Disney Company, Zillow, Meta, Comcast, Dick’s Sporting Goods and JPMorgan Chase are among a growing list of companies that said Friday that they will cover employees’ expenses if they have to travel for abortion services. They join a previous string of employers, including Amazon and Levi Strauss & Co, that announced similar new offerings to employees after a draft of the Supreme Court ruling on the case was leaked in early May. More are likely to follow, experts say.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of the landmark 1973 ruling ends the federal protections that ensure the rights of women to terminate a pregnancy, and it allows each state to put its own regulations in place. It’s expected that about half of states will ban abortion, meaning that many women would have to travel to get the procedure.
Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Friday that it will provide employees up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement if they need to travel to the nearest location where abortion services are legally available. This benefit will be provided to any teammate, spouse or dependent enrolled in its medical plan, along with one support person.
“We recognize people feel passionately about this topic—and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision,” Dick’s President and CEO Lauren Hobart wrote in a statement. “However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them.”
A Zillow representative told HRE that it “strongly supports our employees’ right to make healthcare choices that are right for them, and we will continue to do so. Our health benefits cover a wide range of reproductive healthcare services—including abortion, whether patient-elected, medically necessary, or both.” Effective June 1, the company updated its health plan to reimburse up to $7,500 each time significant travel is necessary to access healthcare, including reproductive services or gender-affirming care, and said moving forward, it will ensure its coverage “includes safe access to reproductive healthcare.”
The quick response from companies comes as employers increasingly get involved in social justice-driven issues, even when they are hot-button and controversial.
Employers should address the Roe v. Wade decision and should consider taking a stance one way or the other because “fundamentally their employees are going to care,” says Becky Seefeldt, vice president of strategy for New York-based benefits firm Benefit Resource. “They’re going to want to know what [their company’s] response is because it does have some direct and fairly long-term implications.”
However, it remains unclear whether Republican-led states that will ban abortion may penalize companies that provide these abortion travel benefits to employees.