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We contacted 30 of the most powerful companies in America. Few had anything to say about Roe v Wade

May 3, 2022, 9:54 PM UTC

Late Monday night, Politico reported that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, after obtaining a leaked early draft of the decision. The 1973 ruling established the constitutional right to choose to have an abortion.

Although the draft is not a final decision, the court confirmed on Tuesday that the draft was authentic.  

Currently, 26 states are “certain or likely” to put laws in place that would ban or severely limit abortion if Roe is overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a global pro-choice research organization that focuses on sexual health and reproductive rights. Sixteen states, along with Washington D.C., have laws in place protecting reproductive rights, including abortion access, according to the organization.

The court was expected to make its official ruling regarding the Mississippi law that challenged the landmark 1973 case by the end of June, although that timeline may now be moved up.

With millions of people across the U.S. potentially left without access to essential health care services as a result of the ruling, major corporations will likely find themselves questioning how to expand their benefits to help employees who could soon find themselves living in states without abortion access. 

An April 2021 CNBC poll found that 60% of workers approve of business leaders speak up on social and political issues, while 37% of workers disapproved. But only 52% of business owners, company presidents, and “C-suite leaders” felt the same way, while 46% of that group disapproved.

And 64% of Milken Institute Global Conference attendees in 2022, a group made up of business leaders and experts in their fields, said it was more risky than rewarding for a CEO to speak out on social issues, according to Harris Poll data shared with Fortune. Of Americans surveyed, 54% said that CEOs speaking out on social issues was more risky than rewarding, with younger generations leaning more towards more rewarding.

Fortune reached out to 30 of America’s largest companies by revenue for a response on Monday, although as of the time of publishing, few had responded.   

“[The decision] really places companies at the front lines in terms of reproductive health care access for millions of women workers,” says Noreen Farrell, executive director of the nonprofit Equal Rights Advocates, which was founded in 1974 to advocate for issues related to gender justice.

What companies have done about previous abortion restrictions

Farrell notes that companies have already expanded contraceptive coverage and abortion-related resources in response to existing restrictive state legislation, like Texas’ so-called Heartbeat Bill, which passed last year. The law made it illegal to get an abortion in the state after a heartbeat is detected, something that can happen in only six weeks, before many people know they’re pregnant. 

Other restrictive legislation has been enacted in the year since in Idaho, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma.

In response to these new laws, earlier this year, Citigroup announced it would help employees travel out of state to receive necessary care, as did Yelp. Salesforce previously announced it would help employees in Texas relocate for reasons related to reproductive health care access. Austin-based Bumble and Match Group, which owns a slate of dating apps, said that it would establish funds to help employees affected by Texas’ law.

And Amazon announced plans to help employees access the reproductive health care they need, just hours before the Supreme Court draft decision leaked. In an email, the company told employees it will reimburse up to $4,000 annually when they need to travel over 100 miles to obtain needed medical services.

What’s happening now?

It remains to be seen, however, how other companies will directly respond to what is now anticipated to be the Supreme Court’s decision to fully overturn Roe. 

Fortune reached out to major U.S. companies to see if and how they would provide their employees with reproductive health care, but got few responses. Similarly, few companies responded to Fortune’s request for comment last September when Texas’ law went into effect.

“It’s reasonable corporate policy not to disparage the United States Supreme Court on an initial draft decision, much less a final one,” says Farrell. “We don’t expect attacks against Justice Alito to be coming out of corporate America anytime soon. But I sense that companies are regrouping and thinking.”

The decision to expand benefits and access to reproductive health care, or not, in the face of restrictive abortion legislation comes at a time when corporations are increasingly expected to take political positions on social justice issues. 

For the past month, the Walt Disney Company and the state of Florida have been battling over the state’s decision to pass its Parental Rights in Education law, also known as “Don’t Say Gay.” Disney encountered attacks from both its consumers and employees for not stepping into the political arena soon enough, and then from the state for supposedly overstepping.

“It will take those brave first leaders, and the positive visibility they get, to encourage others,” says Farrell. She adds that major national corporations must take responsibility in shaping policy decisions, rather than just making internal assurances to employees whose reproductive rights are now threatened. 

“Let’s be clear: Roe v. Wade never guaranteed abortion access, even if it affirmed a constitutional right to it,” she says, citing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibited the use of federal funds for abortion procedures starting in 1980. The amendment was the starting point for additional legislation wearing down the power of Roe vs. Wade. 

Prior to today’s leaked Supreme Court ruling, “Black and poor women were already being denied access to abortions,” says Farrell.  

List of companies

Walmart

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Amazon

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Apple

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

CVS Health

“We’re monitoring the situation closely and evaluating how we can best support the coverage needs of our colleagues, clients, and consumers. We’ve made out-of-state care accessible and affordable for employees in states that have instituted more restrictive laws.”

UnitedHealth Group

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Berkshire Hathaway

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

McKesson

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Amerisource Bergen

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Alphabet

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Exxon Mobile

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

AT&T

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Costco

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Cigna

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Cardinal Health

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Microsoft

“Thank you for the inquiry; the company has nothing to share.”

Walgreens Boots Alliance

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Kroger

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Home Depot

“We’re not going to speculate, so I don’t have anything for you at this time. I’ll let you know if that changes.”

JP Morgan Chase

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Verizon Communications

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Ford Motor

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

General Motors

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Anthem

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Centene

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Fannie Mae

“We respectfully decline to comment.”

Comcast

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Chevron

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Dell

“There’s still much we don’t know about how this would impact our business and employees. Right now, our focus is on our team members and supporting them with the benefits and support they need. We believe they need more health care in the future, not less. This is all I can offer you at this time.”

Bank of America

“Fairly safe to say we won’t have anything here.”

Target

Did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

May 4, 2021: This story has been updated to include a CNBC survey.

May 5, 2021: This story has been updated to include data from a Harris Poll survey.

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