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Some Canadian companies are expanding benefits for their U.S. workers to help cover costs associated with abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling last week.
A Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce spokesperson said abortions and other reproductive health treatments will continue to be covered in states where those procedures are legal, a company spokesperson told BNN Bloomberg in an email.
“In addition, in states where not legally available, we are expanding our U.S. benefits coverage to include reimbursement of associated travel costs (transportation, accommodation, food) up to a total of US$4,000 for the employee or covered family member, plus one travel companion, to ensure safe and legal access to these medical services,” a CIBC spokesperson said over email.
CIBC isn’t the only Canadian company expanding its U.S. benefits to cover costs associated with abortions.
In an internal memo shared with BNN Bloomberg, Scotiabank told its U.S. workers on Friday it would cover costs for those staff to travel if their state restricts access to abortions.
Tilray Brands Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Irwin Simon tweeted on Tuesday the cannabis company would update its health care benefits to cover transportation expenses associated with reproductive care for all of its U.S. employees and their covered family members.
Also on Friday, both Manulife Financial Corp. and Sun Life Financial Inc. shared with BNN Bloomberg that they would also cover medical travel for abortions with a companion.
“We also understand that access to reproductive healthcare is a deeply personal matter, and we believe our colleagues should have the opportunity to make the choices they feel are best for themselves and their families,” a Manulife spokesperson said in a statement to BNN Bloomberg over email.
‘HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS’ FORCED TO TRAVEL FOR ABORTION
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the question of whether abortions are legal will be left up to individual U.S. states. Abortion is now banned, soon-to-be-banned or under serious threat in about 60 per cent of U.S. states.
The U.S. National Abortion Federation (NAF) tweeted a statement that they anticipate “hundreds of thousands of patients will be forced to travel to access abortion care” if it’s not offered in their state.
“According to NAF’s research, about two-thirds of abortion seekers are unlikely to be able to travel to obtain abortion care without additional funding and support,” the statement said.
BNN Bloomberg reached out to a dozen large, publicly-traded Canadian companies with significant U.S. operations to inquire if they planned to cover the cost for any female staff in the U.S. who will need to travel out of state for an abortion due to the Supreme Court’s ruling. The majority either declined to respond or didn’t provide specifics on new support being provided for employees.