Amazon will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses per year for US employees seeking non-life-threatening medical procedures, such as elective abortion.
The company informed employees via an internal memo, which Reuters first reported on, and a representative verified Reuters’ story to Insider. Insider received screenshots of the news from an employee source.
In the aftermath of more draconian laws imposed by Republican-controlled states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Alabama, other prominent corporations have adopted similar policies.
“In response to changes in reproductive health-care laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources,” Citigroup said on in a filing after Texas Governor Greg Abbot signed a law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is identified.
Apple, Bumble, Levi’s, and HP are among the other companies.
Amazon’s plan is designed to cover the costs of travel and housing for therapies that aren’t offered close to an employee’s home. The plan builds on an existing policy by including transgender care, cardiology treatments, cellular gene therapies, and substance abuse disorder services in addition to abortion.
One employee told Insider that he supports the proposal but anticipates opposition from areas such as Texas.
According to Reuters, the employee benefits package formerly offered up to $10,000 in travel coverage for the treatment of life-threatening medical concerns.
Employees at the corporate and warehouse offices, as well as their dependents, who are registered in the company’s Premera or Aetna health plans, will be eligible for coverage retroactive to January 1, 2022.
Abortions are still lawful in all 50 states of the United States, according to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established a constitutional right to abortion until the fetus is viable. Texas, on the other hand, currently has one of the harshest abortion restrictions in the country, as well as a “trigger law” that would make nearly all abortions illegal in the state if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The state’s new abortion law, known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, makes it illegal for a doctor to intentionally conduct or induce an abortion if they find a fetal heartbeat, which is normally detected around six weeks of pregnancy. The law also empowers private individuals to enforce it, with a $10,000 reward for lawsuits filed against those who assist women in obtaining the operation after six weeks.
Senate Bill 8 and House Bill 1515 were introduced in the Texas Legislature. Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law on May 19, 2021, and it went into effect on September 1, 2021.