Google Employees Can Apply To Move To States With Abortion Access

The company's chief people officer said in an email to staff that "no justification" will be needed to request relocation.

As Americans grapple with the repercussions of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion-rights case, tech giant Google told U.S.-based employees they can apply for relocation “without justification.”

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

“Equity is extraordinarily important to us as a company, and we share concerns about the impact this ruling 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 out of state because it is not available where they live. Abortion bans are either in effect or soon likely will be in 16 states. Six other states have imposed extreme restrictions.

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

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

Other major U.S. companies have also announced they would cover travel expenses for employees who need to go outside their state for the medical procedure.

“As we’ve said before, we support our employees’ rights to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC. “For more than a decade, Apple’s comprehensive benefits have allowed our employees to travel out-of-state for medical care if it is unavailable in their home state.”

In May, Amazon told employees it would cover travel expenses up to $4,000 per year for medical treatment, including abortion, according to Reuters. The company’s announcement followed moves by Republican-led states to limit access in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision.

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

“We intend to offer travel expense reimbursements, to the extent permitted by law, for employees who will need them to access out-of-state health care and reproductive services,” Meta said, according to The New York Times. “We are in the process of assessing how best to do so given the legal complexities involved.”

The concern over possible “legal complexities” may indeed be warranted, as those companies could be exposing 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 lines, 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 they could be banned from operating in the state if they paid for employee travel for abortions in a different state, according to The Texas Tribune.

Fourteen Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives wrote to the CEO of Lyft following his pledge to support staff in Oklahoma and Texas with getting an abortion. The company also said it would pay legal expenses for drivers taking people where they can seek the medical procedure.

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

Following Friday’s Supreme Court decision, Facebook and Instagram have come under fire for removing posts offering abortion pills aimed at women in states where access is restricted, according to The Associated Press.

More on the Supreme Court abortion ruling:

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