Abortion debate: US companies position themselves | tagesschau.de

Status: 05/16/2022 04:25 a.m

Apparently more and more companies want to pay their employees travel expenses for abortions in another state – and possible legal costs for illegal abortions. The Republicans are considering how to punish the companies.

Von Katrin Brand, ARD-Studio Washington

There have been many questions on the conservative television channel Foxnews these days: “I want to know if Levi-Strauss will soon no longer be making jeans for pregnant women because the employees are now apparently being paid for abortions and travel expenses,” commentator Monica Crowley wanted to know, and vice versa: If someone has a baby, is there a $4,000 bonus? To compensate?

The debate about abortion has hit US companies with full force. About two weeks ago it was pierced that the Supreme Court could be ready to overturn the current abortion law. And then it would soon be impossible to terminate a pregnancy in at least 13 states.

Many Americans have health insurance through their employers. And that’s where companies come in. Several large companies announced months ago that they will continue to pay for abortions in the future. And the travel expenses on top of that, should it be necessary to go to another state.

Uber wants to pay legal costs in Texas

Citigroup, Starbucks, Amazon, Apple and Salesforce all said earlier this year they would cover those travel expenses. This is how reporter Alexis Keenan listed it on the Yahoo broadcaster.

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Tesla is one of them. The company is in the process of relocating its headquarters to Austin, Texas. And in Texas abortions have been almost impossible for the last year. Anyone who helps women with illegal abortions faces severe penalties in Texas. The driving services Uber and Lyft therefore assured their drivers that they would assume the legal costs in this case.

“Throwing women back by decades”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also got involved. Abortion rights have helped increase women’s employment. “Depriving women of the right to decide when and if they want to have children would severely damage the economy and set women back decades,” she said last week.

Republicans want to punish companies

Back pressure is building among Republicans. Senator Marco Rubio presented a bill last week. He wants to deprive certain companies of the opportunity to deduct health insurance expenses from their taxes.

“Our tax law should be family-friendly. Instead, our companies too often find loopholes to subsidize the murder of unborn children or the dreadful, supposedly medical treatment of children. My bill would ensure that that doesn’t happen,” he says in his justification.

Rubio’s bill has little chance of getting through the Senate. But the Disney case has warned the companies. Florida wants to withdraw its privileges from the Disney group because Disney had criticized a law. It was about school lessons and the topic of sexual orientation. US companies face a difficult balancing act.

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