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Yelp joins Citigroup and Apple in covering travel costs for workers seeking abortions

April 12, 2022, 4:19 PM UTC

In the wake of increasingly restrictive abortion laws sweeping the U.S., Yelp Inc. is the latest company to cover travel costs for employees who need to leave their home states to get reproductive care.

The company has nearly 4,000 workers in the U.S. and just over 200 in Texas, where a bill has banned abortions after six weeks. Yelp will offer its benefit through the company’s insurance provider starting next month, according to a person familiar with the matter. It will also extend coverage to dependents. 

“As a remote-first company with a distributed workforce, this new benefit allows our U.S. employees and their dependents to have equitable access to reproductive care, regardless of where they live,” Miriam Warren, the company’s chief diversity officer, said in an emailed statement.

With the Supreme Court expected to rule on a case this year that could lead to further abortion restrictions in many states, large U.S. companies with workers based in those places, such as Citigroup Inc., Apple Inc. and  Levi Strauss & Co.  have begun offering a travel benefit for getting reproductive health care out of state.

If the justices overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guarantees a federal right to abortion in the U.S., the availability of the procedure will vary widely by state. There are abortion deserts—where patients have to travel more than 100 miles to get to the nearest clinic—in every region of the country except the Northeast, according to the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. Three-quarters of people who seek abortion care have incomes that are near or below the federal poverty line.

Already, in Texas, around 1,400 people a month are traveling out of the state for abortions, according to a March study from the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project.

State-level abortion restrictions cost those local economies $105 billion annually by cutting labor force participation and earnings, and increasing employee turnover and time off from work, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Women who want an abortion but don’t get one are four times more likely to live below the federal poverty level.

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