Yelp, Salesforce and Uber take action against abortion bans

  • More and more companies are publicly opposing restrictive abortion laws.
  • In the past, companies have often avoided taking a stand on sensitive issues.
  • At least one survey found that people would be less willing to relocate to work in states that restrict abortion rights.

As more states pass restrictive abortion bans, some companies are responding. Yelp, Citigroup and Salesforce are just a few of the companies that have recently spoken out against abortion bans.

According to Shelley Alpern, director of shareholder advocacy at reproductive health-focused venture capital fund Rhia Ventures, companies have traditionally been reluctant to disclose to Healthline whether and how they offer contraception and abortion, even when they offer broad benefits.

Although some companies are finally publicly acknowledging the importance of abortion treatment, many others do not provide basic birth control and abortion treatment to their employees.

By extending benefits to workers and publicly pro-abortion advocacy, the corporate sector can have a powerful impact on the type of restrictions lawmakers sign off on afterwards Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Judgment expected in June this year.

“They certainly send an implicit signal of disapproval of abortion restrictions, which could indicate a cessation of support for the lawmakers behind the bans. Nothing prevents companies from telling party leaders that they would prefer more candidates with more moderate views, whether they do so publicly or privately,” Alpern told Healthline.

Alpern has kept tabs on which companies have recently introduced benefits to support employees living in states with anti-abortion treatment restrictions.

In the past, companies have remained silent on sensitive issues such as access to abortion, but in light of recent events, more organizations have publicly opposed the bans and restrictions that have been put in place.

“There are many large companies that are updating their internal policies and practices,” said Jen Stark, senior director of corporate strategy at the Tara Health Foundation and co-founder of the Don’t Ban Equality coalition.

Even when companies don’t speak publicly about their actions, many are quietly updating their internal policies and offerings, Stark added.

According to Alpern, Yelp has made significant donations to abortion rights organizations that fight the anti-abortion litigation such as SB 8 in Texas. Yelp also adjusted its algorithm so that reproductive health clinics that try to convince pregnant women to have abortions no longer appear in search results.

GoDaddy has removed a website that allows people to post tips about who might be performing abortions in Texas.

Apple sent an internal memo to employees saying the company’s benefits would cover the costs needed to travel out of state for medical care. In a filing, Citigroup said they would pay for employees to travel to other states to receive reproductive health care. Both Bumble and The Match Group have said publicly that they are setting up funds to cover the costs of Texas-based employees who have to travel for abortions.

HP has publicly stated that its health insurance covers abortions and helps employees seek out-of-state treatment by paying part of their housing costs.

Salesforce gives employees the opportunity to relocate when they or their family members are affected by laws that limit their access to reproductive health care. MotoRefi and Bospar have also offered to help relocate employees in Texas.

Both Lyft and Uber have created legal defense funds in case drivers are fined for taking a pregnant person to an abortion appointment.

Whether more companies will step up remains to be seen, but Alpern suspects others will expand their reproductive health benefits as more states pass abortion restrictions and we get closer to the Supreme Court ruling Dobbs.

“I expect more companies will quietly adjust their policies around things like travel coverage rather than make a public announcement,” Alpern said.

Stark has helped small and large companies think about how to speak out about abortion restrictions and support their workforce.

Don’t Ban Equality encourages corporate members to recognize the impact of abortion restrictions on their workforce, to speak out when it comes to state and federal reproductive health policies, and to be strategic with their political giving and lobbying.

“With the stroke of a pen, companies can mitigate the damage of extreme social policies,” Stark said.

According to Alpern, there are many ways for companies to offer employees birth control and abortion treatments, but most companies don’t offer enough reproductive health benefits.

“For example, many companies do not cover vasectomies. These care options give employees greater control over their reproductive lives and their value cannot be underestimated,” Alpern said.

A poll by nonpartisan polling firm Perry Undem found that most workers — regardless of gender, age, race and ethnicity — would be discouraged from taking a job in states that ban abortion, like SB 8 in Texas.

Most working adults would prefer to live in a state where abortion is legal and accessible, Alpern says.

“State legislators need to think hard about whether they want to be the next Texas or whether they want to adopt the welfare policies that the workforce actually wants,” Alpern said.

Corporate political contributions can also have an impact on government policies. Companies occasionally provide extensive healthcare benefits to employees but donate to politicians who support abortion restrictions, Stark says.

“Companies that refuse to make public statements can still drop a dime to tacitly tell lawmakers that abortion restrictions are weakening their state’s business environment and making it a less attractive place to do business,” Alpern said.

Several companies are expanding their reproductive health care services and publicly opposing some of the sweeping abortion restrictions coming into force across the country. These actions, along with political donations, allow companies to send a message to lawmakers that abortion restrictions are weakening their state’s business environment.

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