Will Changing Reproductive Rights Change Workplace Benefits?

Earlier this month, you might have heard news from big employers like Yelp, Apple, and Citi. In a potential response to the new state laws restricting abortion rights and the apparent indifference of a Republican-majority Supreme Court, these companies are expanding their support of reproductive rights. But is this the rule, or the exception? Will more restrictive reproductive rights result in diminishing workplace benefits?

Yelp in particular expanded its benefits for employees who sought out-of-state care to access abortion. Employees need only keep travel receipts to obtain reimbursement from their insurance companies. These benefits are completely confidential when used.

Yelp Chief Diversity Officer Miriam Warren explained, “So no one else at Yelp is ever going to know who is accessing this, or how, or when.”

Leila Abolfazli works as director of federal reproductive rights for the National Women’s Law Center, and emphasized that these companies are taking the necessary steps to ensure the protection of their employees’ rights — but that these companies are only a few among many.

She said, “It’s important for companies to recognize that abortion is among the healthcare their workers may need. The health and well-being of workers is essential to any company in order to attract workers, retain workers, and show you’re supportive of them.”

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft also took peremptory action to protect their workers from potential lawsuits or even arrest. Company representatives acknowledged the expectation that drivers might be sued for “aiding and abetting” illegal abortions, especially in states that offer incentives for those who file related lawsuits. 

Under the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, it’s entirely possible that Roe v. Wade might be gutted later in 2022 or after the midterm elections. 

Abolfazli said that corporate voices are required to prevent that from happening because of their “major political muscle.” They have “more weight than anyone else to call local lawmakers and say, ‘this makes it difficult to operate in the state,’” she said.

Visit website for more information on reproductive rights in your workplace. Qualified employment attorneys can help you learn about employment benefits at your company or fight for new ones. 

UPDATE: In response to a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion penned by Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. that suggests Roe v. Wade is on the verge of being overturned completely, companies have immediately began taking steps to ensure access to abortion rights and reproductive care for employees.

Big companies like Amazon, Citigroup, Bospar, Alloy, Bumble, Apple, and Match have all strengthened previously announced maneuvers aimed at protecting the rights of their employees. For example, Dallas-based Match announced a new fund to help those impacted by newly restrictive abortion legislation.

Meanwhile, Amazon announced it would cover up to $4,000 a year in employee travel costs. Citigroup announced similar benefits for out-of-state resources. Yelp’s previous rule changes allowed similar travel stipends. CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said the aforementioned Texas law “not only infringes on women’s rights to reproductive care, but it puts their health and safety at greater risk.”