As Americans grapple with the repercussions of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark case of Roe v. Wade on abortion rights, tech giant Google told US-based employees they could request relocation “without justification”.
Fiona Cicconi, Google’s chief human resources officer, emailed staff Friday regarding the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which upheld a Mississippi law banning abortion at 15 weeks.
“Fairness is extremely important to us as a company, and we share our concerns about the impact this decision will have on people’s health, lives and careers,” Cicconi wrote.
Cicconi added that the company’s medical benefits cover travel for employees who need out-of-state medical care because it’s not available where they live. Abortion bans are in effect or soon will be in 16 states. Six other states have imposed extreme restrictions.
“Googlers can also request a relocation without justification, and those overseeing this process will be aware of the situation,” Cicconi said.
Salesforce implemented a similar policy following a Texas law banning six-week abortions, according to CNBC.
Other major U.S. companies have also announced they will cover travel costs for employees who need to travel out of state for the medical procedure.
“As we’ve said before, we support the right of our employees to make their own decisions about their reproductive health,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC. “For more than a decade, Apple’s comprehensive benefits have allowed our employees to travel out of state for medical care if it is not available in their home state.”
In May, Amazon told employees it would cover travel expenses up to $4,000 a year for medical treatment, including abortion, according to Reuters. The company’s announcement follows moves by Republican-led states to limit access ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, will also offer to cover employee travel costs, but with the caveat that any support would have to comply with the law.
“We intend to provide travel expense reimbursements, to the extent permitted by law, to employees who will need them to access out-of-state health care and reproductive services,” a said Meta, according to the New York Times. “We are in the process of evaluating the best way to do this given the legal complexities involved.”
Concern about potential “legal complexities” may indeed be justified, as these companies could face legal action from states where abortion is illegal and from anti-abortion activists, legal experts say.
“If you can sue me as the person for transporting your daughter across state lines, you can sue Amazon to pay for it,” Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University, told Reuters. from Illinois.
Texas has warned companies they could be banned from operating in the state if they pay for employee travel for abortions in another state, according to The Texas Tribune.
Fourteen Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives wrote to the Lyft CEO after his pledge to support staff from Oklahoma and Texas to have abortions. The company also said it would pay the legal fees of drivers who take people to where they can seek treatment.
“The State of Texas will take swift and decisive action if you do not immediately rescind your recently announced policy of paying the travel expenses of women who abort their unborn children,” reads the Texas letter.
Following Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, Facebook and Instagram have come under fire for removing posts offering abortion pills aimed at women in states with restricted access, according to The Associated Press.
Learn more about the Supreme Court decision on abortion:
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