Walmart expands abortion coverage after Roe v Wade

  • Employees will have travel costs paid for if they can’t get an abortion within a 100-mile radius.
  • Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States.
  • The company has more than 4,700 stores and is headquartered in Arkansas, which has strict abortion laws.

According to an internal memo, Walmart told its employees on Friday that it will give them more coverage for abortions and travel related to them. About two months ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal right to access the procedure was no longer valid.

Effective immediately, Walmart’s health-care plans will cover abortion “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of foetal viability,” according to the memo to employees, which was reviewed by CNBC.

According to an email sent by Donna Morris, Walmart’s chief people officer, employees and their family members who are insured through Walmart will also have their travel costs paid for if they can’t get a legal abortion within 100 miles of where they live.

Walmart has about 1.6 million employees and is the largest private employer in the United States. Its headquarters are in Arkansas, which has strict abortion laws. A few months ago, Target, Apple, and other companies expanded or reaffirmed their abortion coverage. Still, Walmart’s policy is a sign of things to come. The company has more than 4,700 stores in both small towns and big cities, and 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of one.

Doug McMillon, the CEO of the company, sent an email to all employees last month saying that after the Supreme Court decision, Walmart was “working thoughtfully and tough to figure out the best manner forward.” Walmart didn’t say at the time what changes it was thinking about making.

Before, the store offered less coverage for abortions. According to the company’s employee handbook, charges for “procedures, services, drugs, and supplies related to abortions or termination of pregnancy are not covered, unless the health of the mother would be in danger if the foetus were carried to term, the foetus could not survive the birthing process, or death would be imminent after birth.”

Morris put the latest information about abortion in a memo about Walmart’s open enrollment period, when employees can sign up for benefits. She said that the company got ready for the season and made changes after “listening to what’s important to our associates.”

“We strive to provide quality, competitive and accessible health coverage that supports you and your families,” she said in the memo.

According to the memo, the company will also open a centre for fertility services and raise the amount of money it gives for adoptions from $5,000 to $20,000.

Arkansas, where Walmart is based, is one of a number of states with a “trigger law” that limits access to abortions as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned. All abortions are illegal in the state, except for those that are done to save the mother’s life.

Friday, the company didn’t say anything right away about the coverage expansion.

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