Mastodon Abortion travel benefits don’t discriminate against non-abortion-seeking pregnant workers

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Abortion travel benefits don’t discriminate against non-abortion-seeking pregnant workers


Within hours of the Supreme Court releasing its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and reversing Roe v. Wade, DICK'S Sporting Goods announced that it will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement for an employee, spouse, or dependent enrolled in its medical plan (plus one support person) to travel to the nearest location where abortion care is legally available. 

Last week, America First Legal, an ultra-conservative non-profit legal group run by "patriots" such as Stephen Miller and Mark Meadows, filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asking the agency to conclude that DICK'S offering of abortion travel benefits discriminates against female employees who choose to give birth. According to America First Legal Senior Counselor and Director of Oversight Reed D. Rubinstein, "Subsidizing travel for an abortion, while denying an equivalent benefit to a mother welcoming a new baby, is perverse and unlawful."

Two points:

1/ Are there any women who actually need to travel out of state for childbirth? If there was ever a problem searching for a solution, this is it.

2/ Reed Rubinstein and the rest of America First Legal should have read Title VII before filing their charge and taking up this fight.

The statute makes it clear on its face that an employer is free to provide abortion benefits to employees.
This subsection shall not require an employer to pay for health insurance benefits for abortion, except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, or except where medical complications have arisen from an abortion: Provided, That nothing herein shall preclude an employer from providing abortion benefits or otherwise affect bargaining agreements in regard to abortion.

If Title VII does not "preclude an employer from providing abortion benefits," it should not preclude an employer from providing abortion travel benefits to employees in states in which abortion is now illegal. Case closed on this political theater.