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Citigroup is the latest company to cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions as restrictive laws take effect

March 16, 2022, 8:46 PM UTC

As states such as Texas and Idaho begin to implement or propose restrictive abortion laws, more companies are offering to cover travel costs for U.S.-based workers who must seek out the procedure in a different state.

The latest is Citigroup, which wrote in its most recent proxy filing that “beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources” in response to “changes in reproductive health-care laws in certain states in the U.S.”

 The policy will cover expenses including airfare and lodging for employees who must leave states, including Texas, to receive the procedure.

The announcement comes in the wake of a wave of laws by conservative legislatures across the country to limit abortion access, particularly Texas’s so-called “Heartbeat Bill.” That bill makes it illegal to get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected — which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — even in the case of rape or incest.

More controversial still: Under the bill, Texas citizens can sue anyone involved in the procedure after the cut-off date, including health-care providers and even Uber drivers. Patients cannot be prosecuted.

This provision has left many Texans feeling like traveling to a nearby state where abortion is still legal is the only safe option. Travel costs are a known impediment to getting an abortion: Half of all women who got an abortion in 2014 lived in poverty, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organization.

Other states — including Idaho, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma — have followed Texas’s lead in the past year, crafting their own restrictive abortion bills.

Companies have responded in a variety of ways to the laws. Last year, Austin-based Bumble also announced it would create funds to help employees and their dependents who need to seek care outside of Texas, as did Match Group CEO Shar Dubey. Match, which owns dating apps including Hinge, OKCupid, and Tinder, is based in Dallas. The CEOs of Match, Bumble, and Citigroup are all women.

Meanwhile, cloud computing company Salesforce, which has offices in Austin and Dallas, said it would help employees living in Texas to relocate if they wanted to, and rideshare apps Lyft and Uber said they would pay the legal fees for any driver sued for taking a patient to the procedure.

Still, some opponents of the laws wonder why more businesses aren’t taking a stand against it. In the past few years, Texas has attracted a number of businesses that have relocated their corporate headquarters from other states, thanks to the promise of lower corporate tax rates, a number of tax breaks, and a more affordable cost of living for employees. But its conservative social policies can be at odds with big companies’ young, liberal workforce.

In September, after the Texas law went into effect, Fortune reached out to nearly a dozen companies with a strong employee presence in the state. Most declined to comment.

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