Lawsuits could await Amazon, other companies financing abortion travel

Companies that have declared they will pay for employees' travel expenses to get out-of-state abortions could be opening themselves up to lawsuits, WOIO in Cleveland reported June 27.

Several businesses — including Apple, Amazon and Microsoft — had announced the new policies in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. But they could face legal challenges and even criminal liability as several Republican-led states have moved to ban abortion and the aiding and abetting of the procedure out of state.

"Microsoft will continue to do everything we can under the law to support our employees and their enrolled dependents in accessing critical healthcare — which already includes services like abortion and gender-affirming care — regardless of where they live across the U.S.," a Microsoft spokesperson told Becker's. "This support has been extended to include travel expense assistance for these and other lawful medical services where access to care is limited in availability in an employee’s home geographic region."

The companies — which also include Cigna, JPMorgan Chase and Walt Disney Co. — could be protected from legal action by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which courts have said prohibits state laws from deciding what employer-sponsored health plans can cover, WOIO reported.

“There have been some holdings from courts that basically say to states, 'You’re not allowed to have a say in what goes in our healthcare plan,'" Cleveland attorney Susan Moran told the TV station. "I'm seeing a lot of these companies are saying we’re making it part of our healthcare plan."

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