Starting next month, Yelp says it will cover travel costs if an employee or their dependent must leave the state to access abortion services, as first reported. The New York Times. The company employs about 200 people in Texas, where lawmakers passed the nation’s toughest abortion law last September.
The law, called SB 8, prohibits abortions after six weeks and makes no exception for rape or incest. It also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers, as well as anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion. Under the new law, a Texas woman was charged with murder for a voluntary abortion earlier this week, although the charges have since been dropped.
Yelp says its health insurance already covers abortion care, but its new policy expands coverage beyond that. According to NOW, employees will soon be able to provide their health insurance fund with receipts proving that they have visited an abortion clinic. The insurance company will then reimburse the employee directly while maintaining their confidentiality, as the process will not involve Yelp at all. The policy doesn’t just apply to employees living in Texas — it’s an option for anyone in the company who needs to travel to access abortion.
“We have long been a strong advocate for equality in the workplace and believe that gender equality cannot be achieved if women’s health rights are curtailed,” said Miriam Warren, Head of diversity at Yelp, in a statement. The edge. “As a remote company with a distributed workforce, this new benefit allows our U.S. employees and their dependents to have equitable access to reproductive care, regardless of where they live.”
Last year, Yelp says it doubled employee donations to organizations fighting the restrictive abortion law in Texas and other states. And in 2018, the platform says it has worked to ensure that reproductive care providers offering abortion services are distinguished from crisis pregnancy centers on Yelp, which often operate with an anti-abortion agenda.
Yelp isn’t the first company to respond to the abortion law passed in Texas (and elsewhere in the country). Last September, Salesforce told employees it would help them relocate if they were concerned about access to abortion in their state. Lyft and Uber also said they would reimburse drivers for any legal fees associated with Texas law because they could potentially be sued for “assisting” an abortion by driving a passenger to an abortion clinic.