Monday, June 27, 2022

The best response to the end of Roe v. Wade came from a company called DICK’S

Within hours of the Supreme Court announcing its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Lauren Horbart, the President and CEO of DICK'S Sporting Goods, posted the following on LinkedIn.
At DICK’S, our teammates are the heart of our business, and we are committed to protecting their health and well-being.… 
In response to today's ruling, we are announcing that if a state one of our teammates lives in restricts access to abortion, DICK'S Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available. This benefit will be provided to any teammate, spouse or dependent enrolled in our medical plan, along with one support person.

We recognize people feel passionately about this topic -- and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision. However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them.
DICK's joins many other companies — including Apple, Microsoft, Meta, Disney, Netflix, NBC Universal, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Nike, Levi Strauss, Starbucks, and Kroger — that are providing travel benefits to support their employees' reproductive health, including abortions. Patagonia will even post bail for any employee who has previously taken a nonviolent civil disobedience class and is subsequently arrested while peacefully protesting for productive justice.

Here's my question for employers located in states in which women can no longer obtain a legal abortion: If you won't provide travel benefits to support their reproductive rights, what benefits will you provide to your employees now forced to carry a baby to term? Will you provide—
  • Mental health support and services for employees dealing with the trauma of carrying, delivering, and caring for a child?
  • Paid time off for pre-natal doctor appointments?
  • Paid time off for childbirth and for a reasonable amount of time thereafter?
  • Paid time off for parents of children born with serious medical issues, including time to care for the child and for medical appointments, and further benefits for the ongoing care needs of such children?
  • Adoption services support for those employees who don't want to keep their baby?
  • Child-care services such as a paid daycare?

The reality is that we live in a deeply divided nation, and you can now add states in which abortion is legal vs. states in which abortion is illegal to the growing list of that which divides us.

If you're an employer in one of the "abortion is illegal" states, you have three choices. Provide travel benefits and other reproductive rights support. Otherwise support your pregnant workers as outlined above, or do absolutely nothing.

Choose wisely. Your employees are watching. We're all watching.

* Image by Mike Mozart from Funny YouTube, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons