Amazon to Reimburse U.S. Employees for Abortion-Related Travel Costs

Amazon to Reimburse U.S. Employees for Abortion-Related Travel Costs
Pro-choice people rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court late on May 2, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch, Getty Images)

Amazon will reimburse employees in the U.S. who are forced to travel over 161 km to obtain an abortion and other medical treatments, according to a new report from Reuters. The reimbursement announcement came via email to employees at the company on Monday, according to Reuters, and a Politico story late Monday about how the U.S. Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade appears to have been entirely coincidental.

Amazon will reportedly reimburse employees for up to $US4,000 ($5,553) in travel expenses for any medical treatments that can’t be obtained within 161 km of the employee’s home, including reproductive health care treatments like abortions.

As Reuters notes, other companies like Citigroup and Yelp have previously made similar pledges, as Republican-controlled states have passed restrictive laws curtailing the right to have an abortion. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Tuesday.

News of Amazon’s pledge to employees comes in the wake of a bombshell report from Politico that the U.S. Supreme Court will officially overturn the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade within the next eight weeks. Politico obtained a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would completely upend reproductive rights in the U.S. and pave the way for a rollback of numerous other rights that have been won over the past 50 years.

The draft opinion, which could still be revised before being released, would essentially allow each state’s legislature to determine its own laws around abortion, meaning roughly half the country’s states would likely outlaw the practice. Even if Roe wasn’t overturned, it’s become increasingly difficult for people in Republican-dominant states to obtain abortions and Amazon’s pledge will likely come as welcome news, given the fact that most Americans are pro-choice.

Roughly 59% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a 2021 survey by Pew Research, but the Supreme Court does not answer to the will of the people and effectively became a zombie institution when neo-fascist President Donald Trump was allowed to make three appointments to the court, including Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions,” Alito wrote in the draft opinion obtained by Politico.

At least four of the Court’s nine justices are ready to side with Alito, according to Politico, including Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. The five justices would be enough to give the ruling a majority, though it’s not clear how Chief Justice John Roberts would vote. But ultimately it won’t matter.

The court seems ready to toss out fifty years of legal precedent to placate a fringe minority. And that’s just the way things are now in a world where President Trump never saw real consequences for his anti-democratic actions.