Yelp will pay for its Texas employees to travel for abortions

Let’s hope this bodes well for how other companies will approach health care.

Close-up of sign on facade at headquarters of travel and restaurant rating company Yelp in San Franc...
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As the Supreme Court ponders the fate of Roe v. Wade in this country, states like Texas have already enacted abortion bans that prevent residents from getting the abortion care they need and encouraged people to snitch on people who get abortions. Unfortunately, some people have already been victimized by these new laws. But some companies are taking a stand to make sure that their employees get the care they need. Yelp has confirmed to Mic today to that it will cover the travel costs for its Texas employees who need abortions.

The online review site based in San Francisco, only has about 200 employees in Texas, but will extend coverage to employees in other states affected by abortion bans, the New York Times first reported. When the policy is enacted, employees will be able to apply for reimbursement for all costs — including travel costs — related to abortion care under their health insurance policy.

This move is part of Yelp’s continued efforts to ensure that its employees have access to abortion resources and care. “We’ve long been a strong advocate for equality in the workplace, and believe that gender equality cannot be achieved if women’s healthcare rights are restricted,” Miriam Warren, Yelp’s Chief Diversity Officer, said in a statement to Mic.

Yelp’s commitment to protecting healthcare rights is clear not just from the benefits it provides to employees, but also in the way the Yelp operates publicly. Many abortion rights advocates contend that Yelp provides the most accurate listings for abortion providers, in part because in 2018 the company pledged to do more to differentiate so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” — anti-abortion groups masquerading as abortion counseling services — from legitimate abortion providers.

Yelp is not the first company to announce that it will protect its employee’s right to receive abortion care. Last month, Citigroup become the first major bank to announce that it will pay travel costs for abortion care for the 8,000 people the company employs in Texas, and last year 50 companies signed a letter denouncing Texas’s abortion ruling. Yes, part of the reason that companies are taking these firm stands is in order to stay competitive in a lean labor market, but activists have been arguing for decades that abortion is a workplace issue because it is how so many Americans receive healthcare.

“As a remote-first 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,” Warren said. Let’s hope that the fact that these giant corporations are willing to speak out against abortion bans — and literally pay the consequences — will inspire other companies to follow suit, have an impact on legislation, or at least hit states that are trying to enact retrograde abortion laws where it hurts them most — right in the wallet.