Disney, other US companies, offer benefits on abortion trips following Roe’s decision

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

On Friday, the US Supreme Court overturned the 1[ads1]973 landmark ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, and gave a major victory to Republicans and religious conservatives who want to restrict or ban and, in some states, criminalize the procedure. read more

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

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For example, in Oklahoma, a bill that will take effect in August prohibits abortion except in medical emergencies and punishes providers who break the law with up to $ 100,000 in fines and 10 years in prison. States that offer abortion protection include New York and Maryland. read more

Disney told employees on Friday that they remain committed to providing comprehensive access to high-quality health care, including for abortions, according to a Disney spokesman. read more

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

Meta will reimburse travel expenses for employees seeking reproductive care outside the state, but the company “also considered how best to do so given the legal complexities involved,” according to a spokesman.

Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS.N) CEO Lauren Hobart said on LinkedIn that the company would pay up to $ 4,000 in travel for employees or their family members and a support person whose abortion was not available nearby.

Companies that offer reimbursement for abortion-related travel can be vulnerable to lawsuits from anti-abortion groups and Republican-led states, and even potential penalties.

Lawyers and other experts said that employers can face allegations that their guidelines violate state laws that prohibit, facilitate or assist with abortions.

The ride-hailing company Lyft (LYFT.O) said it would legally protect drivers in abortion cases, and said it would expand a recent policy as new state laws were passed. “No driver should have to ask a rider where they are going and why,” a spokesman said.

A draft Supreme Court ruling on abortion was leaked in May. At the time, many other companies, including Yelp (YELP.N), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Tesla (TSLA.O), said they would help cover travel expenses for employees seeking reproductive services. Apple (AAPL.O) reiterated that it supported employees who made their own decisions about reproductive health, and that the health care system covered travel for services that are not available nearby.

Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said Friday that the ruling “endangers women’s health, denies them their human rights and threatens to phase out the progress we have made toward gender equality since Roe.”

Alaska Air Group (ALK.N), parent of Alaska Airlines, said Friday that they “reimburse travel for certain medical procedures and treatments if they are not available where you live. Today’s Supreme Court decision does not 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 nation’s largest bank. read more

OkCupid sent messages in the app to customers in 26 states who are likely to ban abortion, and are preparing for a political battle. “Act now by calling your representatives and demanding freedom and choice,” said a copy of the message tweeted by OkCupid 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; Written by Anna Driver; Edited by Bill Berkrot and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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