Companies are offering to pay travel expenses for employees seeking abortions
Levi Strauss, Yelp, Uber, Lyft, and Amazon offer assistance
Pro-choice supporters rally at the Pa. State Capitol on Tuesday, 5/21/19, as part of a national day of action (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek.) Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.
Following threats to abortion access in Florida and throughout the nation, major private businesses across the country have launched efforts to ensure access for their workers to abortion care not available in states where they live.
For example, this week the clothing company Levi Strauss & Co. announced that employees “are eligible for reimbursement for health care-related travel expenses for services not available in their home state, including those related to reproductive health care and abortion.”
“Given what is at stake, business leaders need to make their voices heard and act to protect the health and well-being of our employees. That means protecting reproductive rights,” the company said.
Amazon took similar action Monday by offering up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for “non-life-threatening medical treatments, including abortions,” according to a Reuters report. Other companies that have taken that step include Yelp, Uber and Lyft, according to Reuters.
Abortion rights groups are taking similar action.
“Corporations like Amazon and Lyft recognize that when abortion care is accessible, not only do individuals and families thrive, but employers do too,” Amy Weintraub, reproductive rights program director for Progress Florida, said in an email Friday to the Florida Phoenix.
“The right to decide whether or when to have a child is essential for social, economic, and racial equality, reproductive autonomy, and the right to determine our own futures.”
A draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court, leaked this week, showed that the high court is poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide. If that happens, at least 22 states have laws or constitutional amendments in place to immediately outlaw abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The court will release it’s final ruling before its summer recess begins in late June or early July.
Meanwhile, a 15-week abortion ban is set to take effect on July 1 in Florida.
Amber Gavin, vice president of advocacy and operations for A Woman’s Choice, told the Phoenix that companies should do more to connect with independent abortion providers such as her clinic in Jacksonville.
“I would also encourage corporations, such as Uber and Lyft, to reach out to communities on the ground for collaboration including abortion funds and independent clinics,” she said in an email.
“We could use their direct support now more than ever, but we don’t need them to reinvent systems because we’ve been on the ground doing the work — making sure that people are able to access the care they want and need, especially compassionate, nonjudgmental abortions.”
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