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Disney announces it will reimburse travel expenses for employees seeking an abortion

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The Walt Disney Co. joined a number of other major US corporations in announcing that it will cover travel expenses for employees seeking abortion care following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade.

Disney’s reimbursement benefit will cover travel related to “family planning” for employees who cannot access care where they live.

The company is headquartered in California, a state where abortion is and will for the foreseeable future remain legal, but it employs nearly 200,000 people around the world including tens of thousands in Florida — where a 15-week abortion ban is set to take effect on 1 July.

A slew of corporations has made announcements similar to Disney’s in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision, with the likes of JPMorgan Chase, DICKS’ Sporting Goods, Netflix, Paramount, and others announcing support for employees who are now living tens and hundreds of miles away from their closest point of care.

In a statement provided to The Washington Post on Friday Disney reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring its employees receive the care they need.

“We recognise the impact of the ruling and that we remain committed to providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care for all of our employees, cast members, and their families, including family planning and reproductive care, no matter where they live,” Disney said.

Disney stopped short of condemning the Supreme Court decision, which, after nearly half a century, revokes the right to abortion care in the US. A select number of companies, including several sports teams, have explicitly voiced their displeasure with the Supreme Court’s course of action.

Shortly after the Court’s decision was released, an internal Disney memo began circulating online signed by the company’s chief human resources officer and vice president for enterprise benefits and well-being announcing that the travel benefits policy also covers cancer treatments, transplants, and rare disease treatment as well as family planning and “pregnancy-related decisions.”

Disney has not confirmed the authenticity of the letter, but its public statements have corresponded directly with the language and policies it lays out.

Many companies have been preparing for the possibility of the reversal of Roe at least since a draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked to Politico at the beginning of May.

Companies including Apple and Levi Strauss & Co announced steps last month, in advance of the finalisation of the Dobbs decision, that they would reimburse employees forced to travel out of state to seek abortion care.

Disney has been no stranger to right-wing political machinations in recent months. The company has been a favourite target of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over its opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill banning or limiting teaching about gender and sexuality in the state’s schools.

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