The U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision on abortion today, effectively overturning Roe v. Wade in declarding that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee the right to abortion treatment. While the outcome was expected — a draft decision leaked months ago — the implications for the broader tech industry are only starting to become clear.
In the 6-4 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution “makes no reference to abortion” and that “no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” Writing the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito — joined by the court’s other conservative justices, including Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — tossed out Roe as well as a Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 Supreme Court decision upholding abortion rights.
At issue in the case that triggered today’s ruling, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was a Mississippi law that banned nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Over 21 states, anticipating Roe’s demise, drafted similar laws banning or severely restriction abortion and signaled their intent to enforce them once the Supreme Court’s decision was made final.
TechCrunch reached out to several major companies, including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, for their responses.
Microsoft, via a spokesperson, said that it will “do everything [it] can under the law” to support its employees and their dependents in accessing healthcare regardless of where they live across the U.S. Prior to the decision, the company included services like abortion and “gender-affirming” care in its health plans — and this won’t change. Microsoft says it will also continue to pays travel expense assistance for “lawful medical services” where access to care is “limited in availability in an employee’s home geographic region.”
EBay told TechCrunch that, effective June 8, 2022, it expanded benefits so employees and their beneficiaries can be reimbursed to travel in the U.S. to receive access to abortion treatment if it’s not available locally. The company says that the process will be managed through its healthcare carriers to maintain confidentiality.
“EBay has always been committed to providing our employees with full, fair, and timely access to healthcare. Our programs have long included benefits for reproductive health, gender affirmation treatments, and other healthcare services,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch via email.
A number of tech companies offered comparable policies prior to the Supreme Court’s decision. Box, which in a statement said that it was “disappointed” in today’s outcome, offers paid time off and travel and medical expenses for “critical reproductive healthcare services.” Apple’s benefits cover costs needed to travel out of state for medical care. And Salesforce gives employees the option to relocate if they or family members are impacted by laws restricting their access to reproductive healthcare.
Bumble and The Match Group, which owns dating apps like Hinge and Match.com, have publicly stated that they’re setting up funds to cover costs for Texas-based employees who need to travel for abortion care. (Bumble, which is headquartered in Austin, says that it will make additional contributions to the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Planned Parenthood Federation of America in addition.) HP has publicly stated that its health plans cover abortion and helps employees seek out-of-state care. And both Lyft and Uber have created legal defense funds in the event any Texas- or Oklahoma-based drivers are penalized for transporting a pregnant person to an appointment for an abortion.
Both Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase pay for travel to states that allow abortion. So does Yelp and Amazon, the latter of which has offered to cover up to $4,000 a year in travel expenses for employees seeking “non-threatening” medical care including abortions.
It’s important to note, of course, that many tech companies — even those supporting abortion rights or offering benefits to that effect — have donated to campaigns advocating for abortion restrictions. As Slate reports, Citigroup has donated over $6.2 million to the Republican Party, including nearly half a million to various GOP candidates in Texas. Yelp, Uber, and Lyft have also contributed tens of thousand of dollars combined to anti-abortion lawmakers over the last several years.
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