Millions of people across the United States of America are disheartened by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. It is a harmful setback for personal freedom, reproductive rights, and equality. This ruling eliminates the constitutional right to abortion and, as stated by Linkedin, affects roughly half the American workforce and poses a potential recruitment and retention crisis in certain states.
Here’s How Some Major Employers Are Responding:
- Google issued a memo saying employees can “apply for relocation without justification” as a result of the historic ruling. It had already promised travel benefits when the draft decision leaked.
- Goldman Sachs, Disney, Facebook parent company Meta, eBay, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, & Netflix say they will reimburse employees for travel expenses related to abortion care.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods & Grubhub say they will cover up to $4,000 for out-of-state travel & services not available in employees’ home state.
- Other companies, including Amazon, Starbucks, Tesla, Yelp, & Microsoft (LinkedIn’s parent company) announced they would cover travel costs for reproductive care when the Supreme Court’s draft opinion was leaked last month.
- More than 70 beauty & wellness companies — including Daily Harvest, Goop & The Body Shop — pledged to support “access to comprehensive reproductive health care … including abortion” via the Don’t Ban Equality campaign.
But we also acknowledge not every company has the opportunity to pay for their workers’ abortion healthcare acesss and not every worker has the privilege to be employed where they wish to work. In particular, we hold space for the cascading impact this decision will have on LGBTQ+ and racially and ethnically diverse individuals, particularly those in disadvantaged communities, in which abortion bans will disappropriationately affect theses groups and people’s right to contraception, gender-affirming care, and same-gender marriage can subsequently become further threatened.
In fact, lesbians and bisexual women who have been pregnant are more likely than heterosexual women to have had an abortion (Human Rights Campaign, 2022) and 75% of women requesting abortion in the US are in poverty or in the low income bracket (The BMJ, 2019). When we look at intersectionality, we see Black women in the United States are nearly four times more likely to have abortions than white women, while Latina women are twice as likely (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). For Black women specifically, health experts believe the link in the relatively high rates of abortion are connected to the disparities in healthcare access, including lack of health insurance and contraceptives in underserved communities.
At Diversio, we believe that improvement in our workplaces starts with improving inclusion for our people. Therefore, we encourage you to make space to take care of yourself and your colleagues, but also to take action. To support this, we are sharing some suggested steps noting what you can do as an organization:
1. Share Resources & Information
According to the National Abortion Federation, each year, nearly half of pregnancies amongst American women are unplanned and it is estimated that 35% of all women in America will have had an abortion by the time they reach the age of 45. Similarly, an estimated 1 in 3 Canadian women will have an abortion during her lifetime.
People who can get pregnant (this extends to all people with uteruses) need information and access to safe healthcare. Politico is providing information on the evolving changes of abortion law by state (folks can filter to learn more about their state) and it’s important to remember that while there are no laws barring women in Canada from having an abortion, it is also not considered a constitutionally protected right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (CBC, 2022). In Europe, 95% of women of reproductive age live in countries which allow abortion, but there are still six countries which have highly restrictive abortion laws (Centre for Reproductive Rights, 2021).
This means organizations need to commit to sharing up-to-date information and resources for their employees to ensure they have all the tools they need to make informed decisions about the changing landscape of their healthcare options and be supported in order to access it.
2. Consider How Policies Can Be Updated
In order to support colleagues who have been impacted and who may be impacted in the future, we need to assess our existing policies and if possible, update them to provide support for our team members. A pulse check or self-audit to identify obstacles faced by your workers and an internal statement should be developed to outline the organization’s current health plan and its potential limitations in services and the distance of providers who offer comprehensive care.
Then, consider ways that organizations can support remedying these limitations with options like:
- Choosing health benefit provides that insure all abortion care & cover all FDA-approved birth control drugs, devices, products, & services, including vasectomies.
- Subsidizing travel costs for employees who need to go out of state to receive abortion care & provide adequate, paid time off for travel & recovery (3-10 days.)
- Paying to relocate employees to another office within your company if they choose to move from a state that bans abortion
- Expanding remote-work options for team members located in states that ban abortion & who prefer to live out-of-state.
To better understand how other organizations have been responding, Rhia Ventures has created a database to track corporate communications affirming abortion access, policies and PTO to abortion-related travel as well as support from reproductive health care, rights, or justice organizations. In addition, some policies have been shared widely as a reference for other organizations. For example, Pyn has publicly posted their policy supporting reproductive health care and is encouraging other companies to model or use this document for their own organizations.
3. Organize Community Support
Community care is integral for the collective action needed to support those who are and will be impacted by the repercussions of the Roe v. Wade decision, but also to support the groups and organizations who have been on the front lines taking action to fight for reproductive rights.
These grassroot organizations are often the backbone of service providing, support and advocacy for equal rights. This includes smaller, local organizations in your communities that are reliant upon the support of the others to continue providing aid for community members. Through donations and providing volunteer opportunities for our workers, we invest in healthcare access and the freedom of all people who can get pregnant to make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of organizations that are centered upon reproductive rights:
- The Center for Reproductive Rights
- The National Network of Abortion Funds
- National Abortion Federation (NAF) Canada
- Planned Parenthood
- National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
- NARAL Pro-Choice America
- Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada
- YouAct: European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
- Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights
- National Women’s Law Center
- Europe Abortion Access Project
- Ipas Partners for Reproductive Justice
(If there are any additional organizations that you would like to suggest adding to this list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can increase their visibility!)
Senior leaders in the organization can also take action by publicly communicating to local lawmakers that public policies limiting access to reproductive health care threaten the health and wellbeing of their workers, negatively impacts the talent pool, makes it more difficult to recruit workers from out of state, and alienates consumers (Rhia Ventures).
The US Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade: An Executive’s Guide to Navigating DEI
For more information on how to address this news at your organization, please download our toolkit, The US Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade: An Executive’s Guide to Navigating DEI, by filling out the form below – which reviews the history of reproductive rights in the United States of America, the implications of this decision, suggested actions, and a communications plan. The provided video walks you through how to use this toolkit at your organization.