JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After major companies said they would cover their employees’ travel costs for abortions, News4JAX spoke to lawyer Christie Guerrero to find out if it would be illegal for employees to seek abortion out of state under their health care plan after the Supreme Courts’ latest ruling Friday.
Millions of people seeking abortions could soon be forced to travel across state lines to access the procedure, adding to the cost of an already often expensive health care service.
For many, employers’ benefits packages may be the only way they can afford an abortion.
“So, as it stands now, there is nothing that prohibits any company from providing reimbursements to their employees for any legal action, it would be no different than a company reimbursing their employee for work-related travel,” Guerrero said. “With yesterday’s decision, though, whether or not employers can continue to provide or start to provide reimbursement for abortion services or travel to and from states that do provide legal abortions, if the state in which that employee is resigning does not allow abortions, maybe changing.”
A spokesperson for Apple says the company’s existing benefits package allows employees to travel out of state for medical care if it is unavailable in their home state.
Walt Disney Co. said on Friday employees who are unable to access medical care in one location will be given affordable coverage to access the same care in another location, according to a company spokesperson. The benefit covers family planning and pregnancy-related decisions.
Uber’s US insurance plans already covered reproductive health benefits, including abortion and travel expenses to access healthcare. The rideshare company will also reimburse any drivers sued under state law for providing transportation to a clinic through the app.
Guerrero also said the biggest issue isn’t an employee being reimbursed within the state that they live in. The issue would be “that employee crossing state lines from one state in which that abortion service is illegal into another state and receiving services that are legal in the state in which they receive them.”
It is unclear if the state the employee resides in would criminalize the act of getting an abortion ins a legal state, according to Guerrero.
Guerrero also said the overturning of Roe V. Wade is going to make a “very vast and differentiating legal landscape.”