Amazon says it will cover travel costs for US workers who need abortions

·2-min read
Amazon's worker health care plan offers to reimburse as much as $4,000 in travel expenses if an employee has to travel far from home for an abortion. (AFP/SEBASTIEN BOZON) (SEBASTIEN BOZON)

Amazon on Monday confirmed that it is expanding medical coverage for US workers to include travel costs for abortions, as conservative-led laws look to block access in many states.

The retail colossus joins a list of companies that have made moves in reaction to states maneuvering to block women's to access abortion.

Citigroup in March said in a filing with regulators that in light of "changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states," it will provide travel benefits to "facilitate access to adequate resources."

More than 50 US companies, including the online review service Yelp, clothing maker Patagonia and ride-hailing app Lyft, late last year signed on to a statement opposing a new Texas law that bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Cloud computing giant Salesforce offered to relocate employees at its Texas facilities to other states after the law went into effect there.

The moves come as legal analysts believe the Supreme Court, dominated by conservatives following the nomination of three justices by former president Donald Trump, looks poised to possibly overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that held that access to abortion is a woman's constitutional right.

In December, hearing oral arguments about a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks, the court's conservative majority appeared inclined to not only uphold the law but to toss out Roe v. Wade.

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

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group, has said that 26 states are "certain or likely" to ban abortion if the Roe is overturned.

Amazon said it would reimburse as much as $4,000 in travel and lodging expenses for employees covered by its health care plan if they have to go more than 100 miles away to receive the treatment they need.

The list of procedures covered also included gastric bypass, mental health care, and in-patient treatment for substance abuse disorders, according to Amazon.

The coverage expands a travel cost benefit for emergency medical treatments.

Amazon also confirmed that it will no longer offer paid time off in the US for workers diagnosed with Covid-19, instead letting them take off five days without pay or tap into paid sick or vacation time on the books.

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