Monday, September 26, 2022

Google employees can apply to move to states with access to abortion

While Americans are grappling with the consequences of the Supreme Court’s ruling to remove the landmark Roe v. Wade reversal abortion rights case, technology giant Google told U.S. employees they could apply for resettlement “without justification.”

Fiona Cicconi, Google’s chief human rights officer, sent an email to staff Friday in which the court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which upheld a Mississippi law banning abortion at 15 weeks.

“Bullying is extremely important to us as a company, and we share concerns about the impact this decision will have on people’s health, lives and careers,” Cicconi wrote.

Cicconi added the company’s medical benefits cover travel for employees who need to seek care outside the state because it is not available where they live. Abortion ban is either in effect or will be in 16 states soon. Six other states have imposed extreme restrictions.

“Googlers can also apply for resettlement without justification, and those overseeing this process will be aware of the situation,” Cicconi said.

Salesforce has put in place a similar policy after a Texas law banning abortion at six weeks, according to CNBC.

Other large U.S. companies have also announced that they will cover travel expenses for employees who have to go outside their state for the medical procedure.

“As we have said before, we support our employees’ rights to make their own decisions about their reproductive health,” an Apple spokesman told CNBC. “For more than a decade, Apple’s comprehensive benefits have allowed our employees to travel outside the state for medical care when it is not available in their home state.”

In May, Amazon told employees it would cover travel costs of up to $ 4,000 a year for medical treatment, including abortion, according to Reuters. The company’s announcement follows steps by Republican-led states to restrict access pending the Supreme Court ruling.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, will also offer to cover travel expenses for employees, but with the proviso that any support will have to comply with the law.

“We plan to offer travel reimbursements, to the extent permitted by law, to employees who will need them to access out-of-state health care and reproductive services,” Meta was quoted as saying by The New York Times. said. “We are in the process of determining how best to do this given the legal complexities involved.”

Concerns about possible “legal complexities” may indeed be justified, as those companies could expose themselves to lawsuits from states where abortion is illegal, and from anti-abortion activists, according to legal experts.

“If you can sue me as a person for carrying your daughter across state borders, you can sue Amazon for paying for it,” Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois, told Reuters.

Texas has warned companies that they could be banned from working in the state if they pay for employee travel for abortions in another state, according to The Texas Tribune.

Fourteen Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives wrote to the CEO of Lyft his promise to support staff in Oklahoma and Texas with an abortion. The company also said it will pay legal fees for drivers who take people to where they can undergo the medical procedure.

“The state of Texas will take swift and decisive action if you do not immediately repeal your recently announced policy of paying for the travel expenses of women who abort their unborn children,” the Texas letter reads.

Following Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, Facebook and Instagram came under fire for removing postings offering abortion pills on women in states where access was restricted, according to The Associated Press.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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