September 26, 2022

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Amazon reimburses employees for abortion-related travel costs

Amazon reimburses employees for abortion-related travel costs

Pro-choice supporters rally outside the US Supreme Court late on May 2, 2022 in Washington, DC

Pro-choice supporters rally outside the US Supreme Court late on May 2, 2022 in Washington, DC
picture: Kevin Deitch (Getty Images)

Amazon will pay employees in the US who have to travel more than 100 miles to obtain abortions and other medical treatments, according to a new report from Reuters. The announcement of the payment came via an email to employees at the company on Monday, according to Reutersand it appears that Politico’s story late Monday about the US Supreme Court’s plans to overturn Roe v. Wade was entirely coincidental.

It is said that Amazon will pay employees up to $4,000 in travel expenses for any medical treatments that cannot be obtained within 100 miles of the employee’s home, including reproductive health care treatments such as abortions.

As Reuters notes, other companies such as Citigroup and Yelp have made similar pledges in the past, as Republican-controlled states have passed restrictive laws restricting the right to abortion.

I can confirm Reuters reports on the matter, including that the expansion of travel and accommodation benefits covers travel for a number of non-life-threatening conditions if the service provider is not available within 100 miles of the employee’s home. “This is not specific to any one treatment or condition,” an Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo via email Tuesday morning.

News of Amazon’s pledge to employees follows a surprising report from Politico That the US Supreme Court would formally invalidate the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade, within the next eight weeks. Politico has obtained a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would completely overturn reproductive rights in the United States and pave the way for the undoing of many other rights acquired over the past 50 years.

The draft opinion, which can still be reviewed before it is released, would essentially allow each state’s legislature to set its own laws on abortion, meaning roughly half of the country’s states will likely outlaw the practice. Even if Rowe isn’t canceled, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people in Republican-dominated states to get abortions and Amazon’s pledge will likely come as welcome news, given the fact that most Americans are pro-choice.

Nearly 59% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a 2021 survey. Pew Researchbut the Supreme Court does not respond to the will of the people and effectively became a zombie institution when neo-fascist President Donald Trump was allowed to make three court appointments, including Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett.

“The inescapable conclusion is that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions,” Alito wrote in an opinion draft obtained by Politico.

According to Politico, at least four of the court’s nine justices are ready to join Alito, including Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett. The five justices would be enough to give the ruling a majority, although it is not clear how Chief Justice John Roberts will vote. But in the end it doesn’t matter.

The Court appears prepared to relinquish fifty years of legal precedent to appease a marginal minority. And that is the way things are now in a world where President Trump has seen no real consequences for his anti-democratic actions.

Update, 8:45 a.m. ET: Updated with comment from Amazon.

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