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Major WA employers commit to maintaining abortion access for employees

Renata Geraldo, The Seattle Times on

Published in Business News

Many major Washington employers responded to Friday's U.S. Supreme Court decision throwing out constitutional protections for abortion with renewed pledges to pay the way for employees who must travel to access reproductive health care.

Microsoft, Starbucks, Alaska Airlines and others committed Friday to covering the travel costs of employees living in places where abortion services aren't available. Amazon and T-Mobile previously pledged to do the same if federal protections for abortion access fell.

Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda French Gates took to Twitter to decry the high court's decision as a "big step backward."

"A government in which women have never had an equal voice reached deep into the most private corners of a woman's life to tell her the choice over what she does with her body is no longer her own," French Gates wrote.

She also said women's voices must be heard in "all levels of society."

Microsoft said on Friday it will provide travel expense reimbursement for employees seeking abortions and gender-affirming care anywhere in the country.

 

"Microsoft will continue to do everything we can under the law to support our employees and their enrolled dependents in accessing critical health care," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email Friday after the Supreme Court's decision to void constitutional access to abortion.

The company did not say whether it will change its data practices to improve privacy for people seeking abortions, a concern experts expressed when the Supreme Court draft was leaked.

Microsoft can gather and sell users' data, and experts seem to believe governments where abortion has been criminalized can make use of it to prosecute people seeking abortions.

"That availability, that data, could put people at risk," U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D.-Wash., said previously.

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