Companies are offering to cover workers’ travel costs for abortions

Some states might seek to stymie employers that offer travel benefits for out-of-state abortions. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Some companies will cover travel so workers can seek abortions in states where they’re allowed. The need to disclose intentions around abortion-related travel could put added strain on workers. In eight states, abortion is already illegal; in another 10 it’s on track to become illegal or face heavy restrictions. A group of lawmakers in Texas has proposed banning companies that offer to pay for their workers’ abortion care [1-3].
Some businesses may pay for employees’ travel expenses to have abortions in places where they are legal. Employees may be under additional stress due to the requirement to report travel plans linked to abortion. Abortion is currently prohibited in eight states, and it may soon be outlawed or subject to tight regulations in another ten. Texas legislators have suggested outlawing businesses that provide health insurance for abortions for their employees [4-6].
In places where the practice is prohibited, employers who provide abortion treatment via their health plans may be required to revoke such coverage. According to Duffey, some companies could even decide to move to different states. Employees’ well-being and productivity can suffer if they are unable to get an abortion, she warns [7-9].
Uncertainty surrounds employers’ promises to pay for employees’ travel costs who reside in states like Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Employers must intentionally give benefits in a way that upholds the “dignity and autonomy” of individuals who require them, according to Duffey. Patients who avoid complying with state anti-abortion legislation would have no protection under the federal health privacy statute known as HIPAA [10-12].
According to Tinsley Mack, employers in a post-Roe workplace should take precautions to safeguard the emotional, psychological, and physical health of employees. According to her, employers should set an example for benefits policies that do not involve constant employee and staff monitoring. Informational seminars on HIPAA, protected health information, and legal concerns with employer-sponsored group health insurance, including abortion, should be held [13].
Isummery, Currently, eight states forbid abortion; ten more may soon follow suit and ban it altogether or place strict restrictions on it. Some employers may pay for travel expenses so that staff members can get abortions in jurisdictions where they are legal. Benefits must be provided by employers with the goal of upholding the “dignity and autonomy” of those who need them.
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