Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, is expanding its abortion coverage for employees after staying largely mum on the issue for months following the Supreme Court ruling that scrapped a nationwide right to abortion. In a memo sent to employees on Friday, the company said its health care plans will now cover abortion for employees “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of fetal viability.
” The new policy will also offer “travel support” for workers and dependents covered under their health care plans so they can access services that are not available within 100 miles of their locations, Donna Morris, the retailer’s chief people officer, said in the memo. Walmart employs nearly 1.6 million people in the US.
In Arkansas, where the company is based, abortion is banned under all circumstances unless the procedure is needed to protect the life of the mother in a medical emergency. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. A Walmart spokesperson did not immediately reply for a request for comment on whether the company’s health plan – or travel support – will cover elective abortions.
Previously, the company’s benefits plan had covered abortion only in cases “when the health of the mother would be in danger if the fetus were carried to term, the fetus could not survive the birthing process, or death would be imminent after birth,” according to a copy of the policy viewed by The Associated Press but not confirmed by Walmart.
Many companies – including Meta, American Express and Bank of America – have said they will cover travel costs for their employees in the aftermath of the high court ruling that tossed out Roe v. Wade. But dozens of others corporations, and organizations that represent some of the nation’s most powerful companies. have continued to stay quiet.
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Story first published: Saturday, August 20, 2022, 9:24 [IST]