Companies vowing to reimburse employees for out-of-state abortions expected to face legal action

The announcements come on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade

Updated: June 27, 2022 - 3:32pm

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U.S. companies including such big-name brands as Amazon, Citigroup and Tesla are facing backlash – including potential lawsuits – for have vowed to cover travel costs for employees seeking an out-to-state abortion. 

Texas state GOP lawmakers have already threatened Citigroup Inc. and Lyft with legal repercussions. They said in a letter last month to Lyft Chief Executive Logan Green that Texas "will take swift and decisive action" if the ride-hailing company implements the policy, according to Reuters

The legislators also outlined a series of abortion-related proposals, including a bill that would keep companies from doing business in Texas if they pay for residents of the state to receive abortions elsewhere, the wire service also reports.

At least 13 states are in the process of banning abortion, and more than half are expected to outlaw the procedure in the coming weeks and months, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher institute. 

Other companies reportedly having vowed to cover expenses related to out-of-state abortions including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Disney, JP Morgan Chase, Meta, Microsoft, Netflix and Starbucks.

Google has gone a step further. In addition to covering travel expenses, it has also reportedly promised to relocate employees who want to move to states with a right to abortion. 

Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois and expert on healthcare law, told Reuters: "It is likely only a matter of time before companies face lawsuits from states or anti-abortion campaigners claiming that abortion-related payments violate state bans on facilitating or aiding and abetting abortions."

"If you can sue me as a person for carrying your daughter across state lines, you can sue Amazon for paying for it," he also said.

Amazon, Citigroup and other companies that have announced reimbursement policies did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment. 

For many large companies that fund their own health plans, the federal law on employee benefits could likely protect them in  civil lawsuits over their reimbursement policies, several lawyers and other legal experts told the wire service.

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