On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court handed down its ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, reversing Roe v Wade. Roe, the 1973 landmark case, made safe access to abortions legal across the country. The decision, which was leaked earlier that month, set into motion dozens of so-called trigger laws. These laws, which are now in place in 13 states, effectively prohibit — and even criminalize – abortions.
In the weeks since the decision, community organizers have mobilized to make sure the people who need care are able to receive it. But the road to reproductive freedom is winding and complicated. Even more so because healthcare is often tied to employment in the US. That’s where B Corps come in. B Corps are unilaterally held to the highest standards when it comes to healthcare, transparency, sustainability, philanthropy, social justice, inclusion, and anti-racism.
With this in mind, B Corps have an obligation to protect the health, safety, and livelihood of their employees seeking reproductive care — in particular when it comes to BIPOC, queer, disabled folks who live in states where abortion is banned. Not sure where to start? This article is a pretty good place. Read on for six strategies B Corps can employ to support their employees in a post-Roe America. And remember: It’s never too late to take positive action for your people.
Reproductive healthcare is most certainly an employer issue. This is especially applicable when that employer is a B Corp based in the US, where 158 million people receive health insurance coverage through their employer — that’s nearly half of the US population.
That’s why conducting an internal benefits analysis is the first step in responding to Roe’s reversal.
A benefit analysis may be conducted solely by internal stakeholders, but it would be more effective with the guidance of a reproductive health consultant. Another helpful resource for companies is the free Pro Repro Handbook, a digital tool meant to guide brands through the benefits analysis with a specific focus on reproductive health.
Beyond health insurance packages, policymakers should also take into account any current or imminent abortion bans in states where employees live. It’s not enough to only consider laws where a company is headquartered — policies must be inclusive of a remote workforce that could be distributed across the country.
Once you know the lay of the land, it’s time to get to work updating your policy.
Regardless of the particulars, all successful healthcare policies have one thing in common: They put employees first. The best policy updates guarantee employee safety, wellbeing, and reproductive agency.
When drafting policy updates, it may be helpful, inspirational, or validating to look to peers for support. Several B Corps have already met the moment by updating their policies to provide coverage for abortions and associated travel costs, according to B Lab.
For example, Amalgamated Bank, which describes itself as “America’s socially responsible bank,” says it will offer financial assistance to employees or dependents who need to cross state lines for an abortion in the form of covering travel, lading, and childcare expenses.
Similarly, the employee engagement platform Culture Amp will cover abortions in states where the procedure is legal. In the event that someone needs to travel for an abortion, Culture Amp will reimburse travel costs up to $2,000.
Higher Ring, a cloud-based customer support company, has also updated its health care to include abortion coverage and said it will reimburse abortion-related travel expenses.
We say it often, but it’s true: Transparency is everything.
Policy updates should first be clearly communicated internally. As it stands, 69% of folks with health insurance don’t know if abortion care is covered, according to a recent study. Make sure any policy updates are clearly and quickly disseminated.
After employees have been updated, it’s time to make a public statement — and it’s never too late to do so. B Corps like Ben and Jerry’s and Patagonia have been vocal in their support of reproductive rights.
Midterms are right around the corner. Now is the time to hold politicians accountable and make a clear, loud statement.
We need politicians in office who will fight for our civil rights and work proactively to codify them into law. Adding to the stakes of the upcoming elections, Justice Clarence Thomas published a co-curring opinion in agreement with the Dobbs ruling saying that the rights to same-sex and interracial marriages could be overturned next via the same interpretation of the constitution. This comes amid a climate in which trans folks, and in particular Black Trans Women, are already at risk.
Time to Vote, a non-partisan organization that helps businesses establish solutions to encourage voting, suggests removing any monetary or productivity barriers on election day. This can be implemented by canceling all election day meetings or offering employees PTO for voting or being a poll worker. Time to Vote also helps companies share accurate information about early or mail-in voting when applicable. You can also share informational resources with employees, like Vote 411 which allows users to verify their registration, find their polling place, and view a sample ballot all in one place.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is to put your money where your mouth is and offer financial support to salient causes.
This can be done through sales and profits. East Fork Pottery used this strategy when it donated 20% of sales from Mother’s Day Weekend to the Carolina Abortion Fund, which supports folks in North Carolina where abortion is protected and South Carolina where it is not.
Another option is to offer employee donation matching to a local fund. The Cut has compiled a comprehensive list of funds nationwide and the Amalgamated Foundation has put together the Critical Reproductive Access Fund, which disseminates donations.
Remember: No one is an island — especially in times of crisis. Now more than ever, listen to and follow the leaders of grassroots abortion networks, many of whom have been preparing for the reversal of Roe for years now.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to abortion or care access networks. These networks are in place to keep people safe. Trying to replicate or duplicate the system could be counterintuitive and ultimately dangerous for patients, providers, and escorts. When encouraging people to travel across state lines for care, provide them with adequate, on-the-ground support from local organizers.