Tech companies respond to U.S. Supreme Court abortion decision

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision on abortion today, overturning Roe v. Wade in declarding that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee the right to abortion. 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 6-3 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 20 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.

Elsewhere, Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey) told employees Friday that it will cover employee and dependent costs for travel for abortion, infertility, and gender-affirming care. Netflix and Twilio, too, plan to pay for employees forced to travel to receive abortions; Twilio said it will make a $100,000 donation to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Netflix offers a travel reimbursement coverage for U.S. full-time employees and their dependents who need to travel for cancer treatment, transplants, gender affirming care, or abortion through our U.S. health plans,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “This is a $10,000 lifetime allowance per employee and/or their dependents per service.”

Airbnb pointed to its announcement last fall that it would offer financial and other forms of support to any Airbnb Host implicated under U.S. abortion restriction laws. “Airbnb’s U.S. healthcare coverage supports reproductive rights, and we have taken steps to ensure that our employees have the resources they need to make choices about their reproductive care,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Twitter declined to comment.

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 said its health plans cover abortion and helps employees seek out-of-state care. And both Lyft and Uber have pledged to create 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 Tesla, 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 companies — even those publicly supporting abortion rights or offering benefits to that effect — have donated to campaigns advocating for abortion restrictions. As Slate recently reported, Citigroup has given over $6.2 million to the Republican Party and nearly half a million to various GOP candidates in Texas alone. Yelp, Uber, and Lyft have also contributed tens of thousand of dollars combined to anti-abortion lawmakers over the last few years.

This article was originally published on TechCrunch.com. Read More on their website.

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