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Article

5 May 2022

Author:
Jenna Benchetrit · CBC News (Canada)

USA: Some companies speak out & introduce new measures to protect workers following leak that Supreme Court may overturn landmark 1973 abortion decision

"As abortion bans loom in the U.S., companies step up or stay quiet", 5 May 2022

According to a leaked draft opinion, a majority of the Supreme Court of the United States has voted to overturn its landmark 1973 abortion decision, Roe v. Wade — and some of the country's largest businesses are under pressure to respond.

Overturning Roe v. Wade would mean abortion rights fall under the jurisdiction of individual states, which could lead to abortion bans in roughly half of the United States...

...It is unclear if the draft represents the court's final word on the matter. A decision will be ruled in June or July. But the report has prompted scrutiny over corporate ties and donations to anti-abortion lawmakers.

Some companies with U.S. employees are introducing new measures to protect their workers, or reiterating past commitments to facilitate employee access to abortion. Others have stayed quiet.

In many cases, only employees who are eligible under an employer-provided healthcare plan will qualify for abortion-related benefits — leaving the most precarious workers more vulnerable to restricted access.

This week, Amazon announced that it would cover up to $4000 in travel costs for U.S. employees seeking non-life threatening care, including abortions, starting Jan. 1 of this year.

However, the reimbursement is only available to those who have employer-provided health insurance, according to a company statement...

That leaves thousands of Amazon employees, many of whom work in low-income positions, including drivers and warehouse workers, ineligible for the travel reimbursement...

Many companies have stayed reticent about their views, including those who have reportedly given political donations to anti-abortion lawmakers in the past, like AT&T, Exelon and Walmart.

There is also a risk of retaliation. Last month, Disney's private governing system in Florida was dissolved by Governor Ron DeSantis after the company pushed back on the education bill critics have called the "Don't Say Gay" law. The media conglomerate has not issued a statement on a potential overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Neither has Walmart, which is one of the United States' largest private employers with over 1.6 million employees in the U.S. and 2.3 million globally, according to their website. Walmart is headquartered in Arkansas, also a trigger-ban state...

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