Yelp and other companies support abortion rights with a travel benefit

Por Doyinsola Oladipo y Ariana McLymore

(Reuters) – Yelp Inc, and Citigroup are among a small but growing number of companies putting in place policies to cover the costs of U.S. employees who need to travel out of state for abortions.

Yelp Inc. was one of the first to offer support to its female employees who may need to travel to access an abortion, a decision the company says was made to ensure its female workers had equal access to healthcare.

Yelp, a review platform for businesses, including restaurants and hotels, began offering travel health care to its female employees in the United States this month.

“I think it’s really about equal access to health care. To protect employees and make sure they can get the health care they need, no matter what state they live in, we need a benefit like this,” she told Reuters Miriam Warren, director of diversity at Yelp.

Yelp and Citigroup, Levi Strauss & Co and Inc have pledged to pay for their employees’ travel so they can get abortions as Oklahoma, Texas and other Republican-led states bar access.

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Some big employers, including Walmart Inc, Target Corp and Walt Disney Co, have refused to intervene since a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn their 1973 decision to legalize abortion nationwide was leaked to Politico this week. .

Some might fear a growing trend among politicians in Republican-led states to punish companies for their stances on social issues.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican rising star, signed a bill into law in April stripping Disney of self-governing authority at its Orlando-area parks in retaliation for his opposition to a new state law limiting the teaching LGBTQ issues in schools.

In April, dozens of House Republicans demanded that the chamber stop supplying lawmakers with credit cards after the financial institution offered to pay the travel expenses of employees seeking abortions.

The issue has gained urgency now that 31 states have introduced abortion restrictions this year, according to policy analysis by the Guttmacher Institute research group.

By offering support to female employees who may need to travel out of state for abortions, Yelp and other companies hope to gain an advantage in attracting and retaining talent, as well as appear socially responsible to investors.

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