by Pafoua Yang
Some Minnesota businesses are joining a growing list of companies offering travel benefits to employees who want to terminate their unborn babies. This new policy comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
According to multiple sources, Target Corporation will expand its existing health care travel reimbursement policy to include costs for “reproductive services” for employees in states that ban abortion. Benefits are expected to begin this month.
Melissa Kremer, Target’s chief human resources officer, outlined the new policy in a memo to employees on Monday, according to the Star Tribune.
“A few months ago, we started reevaluating our benefits with the goal of understanding what it would look like if we broadened the travel reimbursement to any care that’s needed and covered — but not available in the team member’s community,” Kremer wrote. “This effort became even more relevant as we learned about the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion, given that it would impact access to health care in some states.”
Similarly, Sleep Number’s chief executive Shelly Ibach told employees in a memo that everyone should have access to the same medical procedures, per the Star Tribune.
“To that end, we will extend our medical benefit plans to include assistance with travel expenses for safe access to covered medical services, including reproductive care, where such care is not available locally,” Ibach wrote.
The New York Times reported that Wells Fargo, which has a large presence in Minnesota, also plans to cover abortion travel expenses. 3M and Medtronic have said they will pay for abortion travel as well.
Target and Sleep Number did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other well-known corporations in the U.S. are touting their new abortion travel benefits like Skechers, Under Armour, Nordstrom, Netflix, Disney, Paramount, Nike and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
In a statement on LinkedIn, Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Lauren Hobart said the company will provide up to $4,000 in travel expenses for employees to travel to the nearest abortion provider. Spouses and dependents are eligible for this benefit.
“We at Dick’s Sporting Goods are prepared to ensure that all of our teammates have consistent and safe access to the benefits we provide, regardless of the state in which they live,” Hobart said.
Gap Inc. said any employee “can access our benefits in any state, either that they reside in or travel to.”
“At a recent employee event, we shared with our teams the wide range of mental health and family planning benefits we offer — because we know it is important to support our employees, regardless of whether, how or when they decide to start a family,” the Gap website states.
Some critics have claimed that companies are motivated to cover abortion costs because it would be cheaper than supporting a new mother through paid maternity leave.
“Billion dollar corporations offering to pay for their employees’ abortions so that they can get right back to their cubicles and not miss any time on maternity leave is honestly the most dystopian thing I’ve ever seen. Really chilling stuff,” Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire said.
Abortion will remain legal in Minnesota unlike the vast majority of states in the Midwest. The state is set to become an “abortion destination” with clinics already preparing for more patients.
Meanwhile, North Dakota’s only abortion clinic is planning to open a facility in Minnesota.
“On June 24th, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade. Abortion is still legal in North Dakota for now. We will open a facility in Moorhead, MN, soon,” Red River Women’s Clinic said on its website. The site then asked for donations to “help make that a reality.”
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Pafoua Yang is a reporter for Alpha News. She has worked as an on-air reporter for stations across the Twin Cities.
Photo “Target” by Mike Mozart. CC BY 2.0.