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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Amazon will pay for travel in the USA for workers needing abortions

Amazon confirmed Monday that it will cover travel costs for its US workers who need an abortion as part of its plan to expand medical coverage in the face of conservative laws in many states aimed at blocking access to the procedure.

Amazon thus joins a list of companies that have already moved in response to legal maneuvers in some states to prevent women from accessing pregnancy termination. 

In March, Citigroup said that, in light of “changes in some states to reproductive health laws,” it would give travel benefits to “facilitate access to appropriate resources.”

More than 50 U.S. companies, including online review service Yelp, clothing maker Patagonia and ride-hailing app Lyft, signed a statement late last year opposing Texas’ new law banning abortion after six weeks gestation.

Cloud computing services giant Salesforce offered to relocate its Texas employees to locations in other states after the law went into effect.

The move comes at a time when analysts believe the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, following the nomination of three justices by former President Donald Trump, could overturn the “Roe v. Wade” ruling, a landmark 1973 decision recognizing access to abortion as a woman’s constitutional right.

In December, following an oral argument hearing on a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks, the Court’s conservative majority seemed inclined not only to uphold the law, but also to throw out “Roe v. Wade.”

The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision in the Mississippi case in June.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group, said there are 26 states “certain or likely” to ban abortion if “Roe v. Wade” is overturned.

Amazon said it would reimburse up to $4,000 for travel and lodging costs for female employees covered under its health plan if they must travel more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) to receive the treatment they need.

The list of procedures includes gastric bypass, mental health and inpatient treatment for substance abuse, according to Amazon.

Amazon also confirmed that it will no longer offer paid time off to workers diagnosed with covid-19. If they get sick, they will have five days off without pay.

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