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These companies are assuring workers they'll help them access abortions

The Levi's logo appears on a pair of the company's 501 jeans in a file photo taken in 2019.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images
The Levi's logo appears on a pair of the company's 501 jeans in a file photo taken in 2019.

The clothing brand Levi Strauss & Co. said in a statement on Wednesday that employees could get reimbursed for travel expenses for health care services not available in the state where they live, including abortions, through the company's benefits plan. Part-time hourly workers could also seek reimbursement.

"We know this is a fraught conversation; it's not something we enter into lightly. But women make up 58 percent of our global workforce, and in recent years, numerous employees have expressed to leadership their growing alarm over the rollback of all forms of reproductive care," the company said.

"Our position on this is in keeping with our efforts to support employees and family members at all stages of their lives."

It's one of the latest private firms to assure workers living in states with abortion restrictions or bans that it would help them cover the cost of traveling out of state to seek reproductive health care.

Such moves garnered renewed attention this week after a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court crystallized the possibility that Roe v. Wade could be overturned, meaning millions of Americans could lose access to abortions where they live.

E-commerce giant Amazon said on Monday that it would pay employees up to $4,000 in travel expenses each year for non-life threatening medical treatments, including abortions, according to Reuters.

But even before the leak, a recent wave of laws signed by Republican governors to limit or ban abortion — even though the Supreme Court has not yet said those rules are constitutional — had already prompted some private employers to announce they would help their workers access abortions elsewhere.

Citigroup noted in an SEC filing in April that "in response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources."

That announcement prompted criticism from Republicans in Congress as well as in Texas, which enacted a ban last year on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

Other companies that have announced similar efforts to bypass new abortion restrictions include Yelp, Uber and Lyft, according to CNN.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joe Hernandez
[Copyright 2024 NPR]

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