Starbucks announced on Monday that it will cover travel expenses of its US employees that need abortions and gender-confirmation procedures and cannot get them within 100 miles of their homes. The announcement came after the Supreme Court's draft opinion, arguing for overturning the right to abortion in the US, got leaked.
The transportation reimbursement will be an extension of their existing health care plan that already covers the cost of abortion and gender-affirming care, in addition to surrogacy, adoption and fertility treatments.
Starbucks will cover medical travel expenses of those who cannot get procedures within 100 miles of their homes
Earlier this month, news outlet Politico obtained a Supreme Court opinion draft. The draft contained information about the Supreme Court arguing to look into overturning its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that established a constitutional right to abortion.
If the Supreme Court passes the decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade law, the Seattle-based company has promised to reimburse its employees for the travel expenses incurred while seeking an abortion or gender affirmation procedure. However, the company will only cover the travel expenses of employees who do not have access to the procedures within a 100 miles of their or their partner's homes.
Sara Kelly, the company's acting executive vice president of partner resources, said in a letter released on Monday:
“I know this is weighing on many of you, so let me be clear upfront — regardless of what the Supreme Court ends up deciding, we will always ensure our partners have access to quality health care. And when actions impact your access to healthcare, we will work on a way to make sure you feel supported.”
She continued by writing:
“Regardless of where you live or what you believe, partners enrolled in Starbucks healthcare will now be offered reimbursement for eligible travel expenses when accessing abortion or gender-affirming procedures when those services are not available within 100 miles of a partner’s home.”
The travel benefits will be available not only to Starbucks' employees, but also to the dependents of employees that are covered by Starbucks’ medical insurance. The coffee chain provides health coverage to approximately 240,000 part- and full-time employees in the US, however, it has not revealed how many of employees are enrolled for the benefit.
There has been no news about when the travel benefits will take effect. Furthermore, the company declined to share how many employees it has in Texas and other states, with strong legislation against abortion and gender affirmation procedures.
The research organization, Guttmacher Institute, shared that the average distance to an abortion clinic would increase from 25 miles to 122 miles if Roe v. Wade is overturned. This has led to major companies extending a helping hand to their employees with the promise of covering their travel expenses for abortion. This includes companies like Salesforce, Amazon, Microsoft and Tesla. However, numerous other companies like Walmart, American Airlines, The Walt Disney Co., Home Depot and CVS have decided not to provide any comment.