AUSTIN, Texas — Abortion will soon be illegal in Texas, but some companies are making sure their employees have support if they choose to get reproductive health care out of state. Career strategist Julie Bauke says this is necessary to attract young talent.
“They will make a decision about whether to apply, or in some cases, whether to stay with an organization if the organization does not take a stand and provide additional benefits in their health care plan to help with abortion, which most large companies consider health care,” Bauke said.
However, some Texans are concerned about privacy. Will employees have to tell their employer about their procedure? Career strategist Julie Bauke says no.
“I’m confident they’ll set it up so that it’s handled through the health care provider, and there will not be that channel to your employer,” Bauke said.
Steven Pedigo, the professor of practice at the University of Texas, says it can create a “precarious situation” for an employee and their employer.
“When we think about abortion, abortion is a very personal decision,” Pedigo said. “As companies are providing this benefit to their employees, it’s going to put this really interesting relationship that’s going to unfold between allowing your employer to have information about a very personal decision. Will there be policies put into place? Will there be best practices?”
Those are questions corporations will have to work out when Texas bans abortion.
While company support might help attract and keep employees, it could also steer customers away. Kyleen Wright, the president of Texans for Life, says she took her money out of Citibank after the company announced it would help women pay for out-of-state reproductive care.
“It’s sort of a new thing that corporations feel the need to speak out on everything,” Wright said. “And I don’t know who’s pressuring them to do that or why they’re taking the bait, but all of these companies have customers from all walks of life. A lot of us don’t appreciate it, and we have other options.”
Yelp, Match Group, and Indeed all said in statements to Spectrum News that they would help their employees get the health care they need outside of Texas.
“This ruling puts women’s health in jeopardy, denies them their human rights, and threatens to dismantle the progress we’ve made toward gender equality in the workplace since Roe,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, the co-founder and CEO of Yelp. “Business leaders must step up to support the health and safety of their employees by speaking out against the wave of abortion bans that will be triggered as a result of this decision, and call on Congress to codify Roe into law.”
Match Group said in a statement, “In October, our former CEO Shar Dubey established a partnership with Planned Parenthood Los Angeles to provide affordable and safe access to abortion care for Texas employees and their dependents. We are committed to provide safe access to all of our employees and are currently exploring ways to extend this partnership to all of our U.S. staff, including remote employees who work in other trigger law states. In addition, our health care plans now cover travel and lodging costs for any employee or dependent who needs to travel out of state to receive care.”
And Indeed wrote, “At Indeed, we believe that work needs women and people who can become pregnant, and they need access to safe and affordable health care. We are committed to helping women and those who can become pregnant get equal access to employment opportunities, and to get equal pay for equal work. We are committed to supporting our employees in their own decisions about their health. Not only will employees be reimbursed for travel expenses for covered medical procedures that are unavailable where they live, but we are also covering their dependents. Anything that limits the freedom of women and those who can become pregnant to make their own decisions about their health hurts them and society. Limiting access to safe and affordable health care will hit hardest in marginalized communities, especially people of color and those in lower income brackets.”
According to Bauke, companies weigh the odds when they make public statements about big issues. They can’t please everybody, so they choose the path they believe will help them keep the most employees and customers. In this case, many companies have treated abortion like health care.