Starbucks among US hospitality companies pledging to pay for employees to travel for abortions

Starbucks, Grubhub, Yelp and DoorDash among those who will cover employee travel expenses for abortion, following the US Supreme Court overruling of Roe vs. Wade

Updated on • Written By Pete Dreyer

Starbucks among US hospitality companies pledging to pay for employees to travel for abortions

A number of hospitality and restaurant organisations in the US have introduced new policies, confirming that their healthcare plans will cover employees who need to travel outside their home state for an abortion.

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This follows news of the US Supreme Court ruling on Friday 24 June, overturning Roe vs. Wade - a precedent set by a 1973 court ruling that made abortion a legally-protected, guaranteed right for everyone in America. On Friday, the Supreme Court reversed that precedent, putting abortion laws back in the hands of individual states; this will trigger abortion bans in 13 states, with potentially more to come.

Consequently, many of America’s biggest companies have reacted by changing their health coverage policies to help employees who face limited access to certain health procedures due to where they live. Huge multinationals like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Disney and Netflix have all confirmed that their health coverage will support employees who need to travel for an abortion.

A number of restaurants and hospitality companies have done the same. In a company memo dated 16 May (and updated 24 June), Starbucks’ acting vice president for partner resources Sara Kelly confirmed that anyone enrolled in Starbucks’ healthcare plan would be reimbursed for abortion-related travel if nothing was available to them within 100 miles. She says: ‘No matter where you live, or what you believe, we will always ensure you have access to quality healthcare.’

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya confirmed via Twitter that the company would cover transportation, lodging and childcare for employees or their dependants who needed to travel for healthcare.

Yelp, DoorDash and Grubhub are also among the groups to confirm similar policies, providing travel benefits to employees for out-of-state abortions. Business review site Yelp already covered abortion care in its healthcare plan, but extended that to provide travel benefit too. On top of that, the company will double-match any employee donations to groups like the Centre for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood throughout June, according to CEO Jeremy Stoppelman.