Although expected thanks to a leaked draft decision that appeared months ago, the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court proved no less shocking. With this decision, the right to an abortion is no longer guaranteed, giving power to the individual states to decide what can and cannot be done.
Moreover, many states began to draft laws prior to the decision, with clear intent to enforce bans or restrictions on abortion. Therefore, after the 6-3 ruling that states that the U.S. Constitution does not cover or reference abortion and no such right is protected, those laws will now see the light of day.
The decision and its consequences have a major impact on pregnant people all over, and it is also something many companies now have to consider. Read on to learn more about some of the implications and how many tech companies and startups are responding to the news.
The Implications of the Decision
While there are many implications of the decision, including future court cases that might affect other groups, there are some direct problems that could occur. These include affected individuals re-entering the workforce. Roe v. Wade’s overturning stands to potentially hurt recruitment for startups and workforce re-entry across the board.
Considering the current lacking workforce, further disruption is potentially harmful, especially to companies in desperate need of talent. And while there are companies that can afford to support their workers, many small companies and independent workers face increased pressure should they need to travel for medical purposes.
Many Companies Are Taking a Stand
In response to the decision, there are many companies taking a stand one way or another. While some have shown their position with silence, others have become vocal and started offering employees benefits and options to ensure their rights as protected within the confines of the law.
Netflix is one company taking a clear stand with its travel reimbursement coverage for those who need to travel for healthcare, which includes abortions and gender-affirming care. Full-time employees are covered, as are their dependents. Moreover, the amount covered is a lifetime allowance of $10,000.
Apple’s existing benefits cover out-of-state travel for medical care if it is not available locally, which will cover abortion in states that put bans on the procedure. The same is true of Microsoft and Meta, who offer different levels of financial support to the extent permitted by the law.
Yelp has been one of the most vocal companies during all of this, and it offers women, family members, and partners support in states with strict abortion laws. The company and its co-founder spoke out early about the threat the ruling posed and what needed to be done by business leaders.
Other companies that have spoken out include Lyft and Uber. Uber has stated that its insurance plans already cover abortion and travel expenses to access care. The company also stated that it would reimburse drivers that get in trouble after offering rides to clinics through the app.
Many others have started to tweak their HR policies and speak out, ready to cover travel and medical expenses to help their employees. The amount offered ranges from between $4,000 and $10,000 and even includes coverage for spouses and dependents in some cases, such as with Yelp and Netflix.
Other companies have offered to help employees relocate completely. One example is Google, which sent out a supportive email stating that employees can apply for relocation without justification. Salesforce is another company willing to pay for employees to relocate if they are worried about abortion access.
The idea of relocation might become more popular, especially in states with strict abortion laws. Moreover, many feel strongly about accepting a job in those states, which might lead to further changes as time passes. Companies with headquarters in these states stand to face additional challenges.
On top of everything else, many companies are supporting organizations that advocate for abortion. Others, including Lyft, started a legal defense fund. And it is not just the big companies that have stood out in response to the situation, with startups and business leaders making their voices heard.
PR firm Bospar is another that voiced a strong opinion, clearly showing support for women’s rights. In fact, the company took the time to survey thousands of people after the initial leaked court opinion. The results showed that more than 70% were against these recognized rights being taken away.
Bospar was actually the first company in the nation that took it upon themselves to cover relocation expenses after the Texas abortion ban. The belief that women are best qualified to make their own reproductive decisions is a firm stance taken by the company, and they are not alone in this belief.
What It Means for Startups
There are many startups out there that will be affected by this decision, such as those looking for talent in states with abortion bans. Additionally, not all small startups can afford the same level of support as larger companies, which could be detrimental. And it all started even before the decision.
The threat of Roe v. Wade’s overturning caused many startups to stay away from states with the intent to put down bans. The startups decided not to apply for programs in those states, which will likely get worse now that the decision has taken effect.
Additionally, even before the decision, telemedicine startups centered around abortion grew in number and include Hey Jane, Carafem, and Just The Pill. These companies received significant funding and are now more dedicated than ever to helping women protect their abortion rights.
Just The Pill released a statement after the ruling, undaunted by the decision. The company remains committed to improving abortion access, even stating that it was primed to meet all challenges with game-changing innovation. In fact, its program, Abortion Delivered, involves mobile clinics.
The mobile clinics will operate on state borders, which is being done in hopes of reducing travel expenses and making it more affordable and accessible to women across the country.
Health startup Stix even started a donation bank to give people access to free morning-after pills prior to the decision. The company plans to continue providing free pills while supported by donations.
And those are not the only startups speaking out for their employees and women as a whole. Aunt Flow, a company dedicated to providing free period products in every bathroom outside of the home, spoke out about giving its employees time and space to process the clearly difficult decision.
Fetch Rewards stepped up in a big way, offering to cover costs for its employees all over the US. It doesn’t just include the person but also a support person to ensure they get the care they need. Moreover, the company is offering confidential counseling, legal support, paid parental leave, and more already.
Real, a company making mental health a priority, also spoke out. The company believes that an important part of mental health and well-being is bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom. Real is doubling down to fight for safe, legal, and accessible healthcare.
Ruth’s Health is another startup dedicated to helping protect pregnant and postpartum women. The telehealth company’s co-founder and CEO, Alison Greenberg, spoke out about the potential consequences of the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. She also discussed the implications of the US’s maternal mortality rate, a connected concern.
Another startup speaking out and promising its employees support is Movable Ink, a SaaS company that turns data into personalized content. The company plans to cover out-of-state travel if an employee needs access to care. Movable Ink believes all employees should have equal access to reproductive care.
What to Expect Going Forward
It is clear that many companies want to do their best to support women. Not only do they make up half of the workforce, but the loss of rights has struck a chord with many who fear what is coming next. Fortunately, while there are challenges on the horizon, there are people and companies ready to surmount any obstacles in their way.
Of course, there is no telling what comes next, but it is reasonable to assume that some startups and talents will rethink working in states with strict abortion laws. In a time when talent is already stretched thin, the impact will be felt.