The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the half century-old constitutional protection of the right to abortion led several retailers and brands to join others in pledging to pay for medical services and travel for employees in need of the medical procedure.
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, President Biden has signed an executive order to further protect reproductive health care services. Among several directives in the order, it asked the secretary of Health and Human Services to protect medicated abortion and consider updating guidance to physicians for emergency abortion. It also asked the “Chair of the Federal Trade Commission to consider taking steps to protect consumers’ privacy when seeking information about and provision of reproductive health care services.”
Retailers like Levi’s and Amazon had previously released statements to that effect following a leaked draft of the landmark opinion last month. That indication of the high court’s reversal on Roe did little to prevent the shock that ensued following the official opinion, spurring protests nationwide, including on the court’s own doorstep.
Indeed, companies moving to protect access to abortion have the American public on their side: In a CBS/YouGov poll taken June 24 to 25, a solid majority (59%) in the U.S. disapprove of the ruling, with 64% saying they believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Retailers aren’t the only ones taking such steps — big banks including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are reiterating or adding abortion services and abortion-related travel expenses to their benefit plans, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a tweet following the decision, GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders, an investor analyst who covers the retail industry, said, “We must not rest until women’s rights are reinstated.”
“I believe women have a fundamental right to control their own bodies,” he wrote. “I find state [intervention] in their personal decisions abhorrent. Today, America has moved away from the cherished principles of individual rights.”
Here’s how the rest of the retail industry is responding.
Target plans to cover travel for employees living in states where abortion is banned, according to press reports that cited an internal employee memo. (Target did not respond to request for comment.)
The new policy goes into effect in July, according to reports, including from CNBC and The Minneapolis Star Tribune. According to the Star Tribune, Target’s healthcare plan will expand travel reimbursement to include care that is covered but not available nearby, which includes mental health, cardiac care services along with reproductive services.
“A few months ago, we started re-evaluating our benefits with the goal of understanding what it would look like if we broadened the travel reimbursement to any care that’s needed and covered – but not available in the team member’s community,” Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Kremer said in the memo, according to CNBC. “This effort became even more relevant as we learned about the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion, given that it would impact access to healthcare in some states.”
Days after the Supreme Court ruling, J. Crew Group CEO Libby Wadle took to LinkedIn to say that the company’s brands, J. Crew and Madewell, “stand in support of people everywhere who have had their right to bodily autonomy severely compromised by this decision.”
She acknowledged that opinions on the issue differ. “However, we also recognize that this ruling poses a risk to the health, independence, and economic stability of us all,” she wrote. The company is mulling its legal options but is “prepared to use whatever lawful means possible to assist our employees who need special travel to access healthcare.”
Both brands have also signed the #DontBanEquality statement, and are supporting the American Civil Liberties Union. “When everyone is empowered to succeed, our communities are better for it,” Wadle said.
Sephora shared an internal memo on LinkedIn about the company’s stance on abortion. Originally sent to employees on June 21, the communication outlines Sephora’s plan to update its U.S. benefits in October to include support for employees and their families living in restricted states seeking an abortion. Under the new plan, Sephora will cover travel costs for employees that need to seek reproductive health care elsewhere.
The company noted in its announcement that 80% of its workforce is female identifying and that the ruling “threatens women’s lawful and safe access to reproductive healthcare, as well as women’s right to privacy — both of which are essential to women’s equality.”
Sephora added that it was expanding its travel benefits to cover health needs including “gender affirming care as well as transplant, bariatric, orthopedic, cardiac, and cancer centers of excellence.”
Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO Joey Zwillinger posted an internal communication to Allbirds employees on LinkedIn outlining the company’s stance on abortion. The footwear brand said it would support employees seeking an abortion, including covering any necessary travel costs for the employee and a travel partner. Allbirds also said it would pay for any childcare needed during that time.
“There are dozens of states that will enact laws that will legally prohibit abortion, some as soon as today,” the post reads. “We have stores and employees in these states, and our first priority is to consider and care for the members of our Flock.”
Ikea announced it was expanding its health care benefits to include travel reimbursement for procedures including abortion, fertility, gender affirmation services and bariatric surgery where the service is not available “within a reasonable distance” of the employee’s home or in the state they reside, the company said in details emailed to Retail Dive.
Ikea said it “supports the fundamental right of Americans to make reproductive decisions and exercise control over their own bodies, and we are committed to ensuring our co-workers are supported in accessing the reproductive healthcare they need – regardless of where they live.”
The retailer already offered employees on its health care plan access to abortion and paid time off for their health and well-being.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop is adding activism to its list of responses to the Supreme Court’s decision, including joining several other retailers and brands in the Don’t Ban Equality Coalition and taking part in the group’s political action. The beauty retailer is also donating $25,000 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Within its own operations, The Body Shop is providing expense reimbursement to its U.S. employees “so they can secure safe care where it is legally available” and paid time off for those “who need space for self-care, or for those who wish to take time off to volunteer or join local protests,” the company said in an email.
“The Body Shop believes access to comprehensive reproductive health care is a basic human right, which is why we’re deeply saddened by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Hilary Lloyd, vice president of marketing and corporate responsibility for The Body Shop North America, said in a statement. “As a business, we’ve always believed in being a vehicle for challenge and change, and this decision is a setback in the fight for bodily autonomy. Our priority is to provide support for our employees affected by this decision, but we encourage all to make their voice heard by volunteering, donating and most importantly, registering to vote for the midterm elections this fall.”
Modcloth joined others in signing the #DontBanEquality pledge, according to a brand Instagram post. The women’s apparel retailer also provided links for those in need of an abortion, and to organizations funding travel assistance and advocating for legal abortion access.
In an answer to another poster’s question in the thread, Modcloth confirmed that it will cover costs for employees who need to go out of state for a safe abortion.
“Like many of you, we at ModCloth are deeply saddened and outraged at the reversal of previously settled law enabling abortion rights, Roe V Wade,” per the post. “This ruling, removing access to safe abortions and the uncertainty of possible rulings further stripping away our rights, has endangered women in ways that will reverberate through generations.”
“As a company founded, led and comprised of primarily women, we believe that every person has the right to make their own decisions about their bodies and fiercely stand against this cruel and dangerous ruling,” the brand also said.
Puma on July 12 said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive that it would provide confidential travel for employees and their families who live in states that would not offer "family planning services."
Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Puma wrote on Twitter that it "supports every woman's right to determine what happens to her own body," but at the time, it was unclear whether the retailer would cover travel.
The company said in the statement that it "stand[s] with all of our athletes, employees, and partners in their right to make choices about their own body, health, and well-being."
Everlane earlier pledged to continue to support the American Civil Liberties Union through a T-shirt it designed that says “100% My Body.” The retailer will donate all of the profits — a minimum donation of $22 per T-shirt — to the ACLU.
“We believe everyone has the right to autonomy over their own body,” Everlane said in an Instagram post.
Adore Me in late June announced it signed the Don’t Ban Equality statement. The lingerie company said to help protect the reproductive rights of its employees, it will cover travel expenses for employees who need to travel out of state for health care and reproductive services.
“Here at Adore Me, we’ve always celebrated a woman’s right to do whatever the hell she wants with *her* body. So, it should go without saying that we unequivocally support a woman’s right to choose,” Adore Me said in an Instagram post.
Levi Strauss & Co
Levi Strauss reiterated its commitment to supporting reproductive rights in a statement.
“We stand strongly against any actions that hinder the health and well-being of our employees, which means opposing any steps to restrict access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion,” the company wrote in a blog post. The retailer went on further to say that protecting reproductive rights is a critical business issue.
The company said that its benefits plan allows for travel reimbursement for any covered medical expense not available within 50 miles of where an employee lives. Levi Strauss stated that a process is in place where employees not in its benefits plan (including part-time workers) can receive financial assistance regarding travel involved in medical care.
The Levi Strauss Foundation is also providing grants to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Gap Inc., said that it offers a wide range of mental health and family planning benefits including coverage of adoptions, surrogacy, fertility treatments, paid parental leave, contraception and abortion. Seventy-six percent of the company’s current workforce is women.
“Any employee covered under Gap Inc.’s UnitedHealthcare plans can access our benefits in any state, either that they reside in or travel to, now or in the future,” the retailer wrote in a statement. “We are committed to supporting all employees through these important life decisions — no matter where they live or which path they take.”
Patagonia posted a statement on LinkedIn titled “Patagonia supports choice” in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday. The retailer outlined its position that supporting employees goes beyond providing basic healthcare.
“That means offering employees the dignity of access to reproductive health care. It means supporting employees’ choices around if or when they have a child. It means giving parents the resources they need to work and raise children,” the retailer said in the post.
The outdoors retailer will give all employees training and bail for those who peacefully protest for reproductive justice, time off to vote, coverage for abortion care through company health plans with additional travel, lodging and food coverage for employees in restricted states.
Technology company Apple confirmed to CNBC Friday that employees can use company benefits to travel out-of-state for abortion services. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its benefits.
“As we’ve said before, we support our employees’ rights to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health. For more than a decade, Apple’s comprehensive benefits have allowed our employees to travel out-of-state for medical care if it is unavailable in their home state,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC.
On the same day Roe v. Wade was overturned, members of Congress including Senator Cory Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren co-signed a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, asking that Apple and Google be investigated for their “unfair and deceptive practices by enabling the collection and sale of hundreds of millions of mobile phone users’ personal data,” per the letter.
“With the Supreme Court likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, individuals seeking abortions and other reproductive healthcare will become particularly vulnerable to privacy harms, including through the collection and sharing of their location data,” the letter said.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Lauren Hobart was among the retail executives issuing a response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Hobart on Friday announced the retailer would provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement for any of its employees, spouses or dependents enrolled in its medical plan, along with one support person, in order to obtain an abortion where it is legally available.
“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,” Hobart said in a LinkedIn post. “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.”
The retailer’s stock jumped nearly 10% Friday afternoon upon the announcement.
In a statement emailed to Retail Dive, Nike reiterated that its benefits cover travel and lodging expenses for abortion when employees do not have access to those services “close to home.” The company added that it regularly makes “adjustments to our benefits to ensure employees have access to the quality healthcare they need.”
“No matter where our teammates are on their family planning journey – from contraception and abortion coverage, to pregnancy and family-building support through fertility, surrogacy and adoption benefits – we are here to support their decisions,” the company said.
Lululemon shared a post to its Instagram stating that “reproductive rights are human rights” and said the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade “does not align” with Lululemon’s support of well-being and the power of choice.
The company noted that its U.S. benefits plan “will continue to support our employees should they need to leave the state to access treatment related to their reproductive health and family planning.” Lululemon also donated $500,000 to the Center for Reproductive Rights, and said it continues to support organizations like the Black Women’s Health Imperative.
“We recognize the impact of this ruling on people for years to come — including our valued employees,” the company wrote.
In a statement emailed to Retail Dive, Adidas said that its benefits plan would “continue to cover reproductive resources like contraception and abortion support, pregnancy, fertility, and other family planning and building services.” If abortion services are not accessible close to an employee’s home, the company’s plan will now cover travel and lodging expenses up to $10,000 per occurrence for all U.S. employees enrolled in its medical plan.
“Adidas stands firm in support of the right to choose appropriate healthcare for yourself. A crucial part of sport is taking care of mind, body, and physical wellbeing,” the company said. “The health and safety of our people is our number one priority.”
Victoria’s Secret posted a statement on Instagram regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, stating that it “supports a woman’s right to choose” and is “committed to becoming the leading advocate for women.”
The brand linked to its company benefits page, which lists “therapeutic and elective abortions” as an employee benefit.
Madewell on Friday announced it joined the list of companies in signing onto the Don’t Ban Equality statement. The organization was created in response to bans passing in states in 2019 that restricted access to reproductive healthcare.
“We firmly believe that everyone should have access to comprehensive reproductive care. So, we’re taking action,” Madewell said in an Instagram post.
The retailer also said it will continue to support the American Civil Liberties Union as it works to maintain equality for all.
“When everyone is empowered to succeed, our communities are better for it,” the company said in its post.
In response to Roe v. Wade being overturned, Kenneth Cole wrote in a Twitter post that his fashion company still stands behind an ad it ran in the early ‘90s. The ad reads, “We think women should have a choice when it comes to being pregnant. Barefoot is another story.”
On its Instagram page, the company posted a picture of a sign that says, “Choice — no woman should be without it,” and wrote in the caption, “This isn’t over.”
Tory Burch in a statement released via social media, said that she is “outraged” by the Supreme Court’s decision. “I am truly saddened for the women who will not receive the care they need or will seek unsafe alternatives in states where abortion is not accessible.”
She said that her company is reviewing its benefits plans to ensure there are no obstacles to abortion and reproductive care for employees who must travel outside of their state.
“Empowering women is our company’s guiding principle. This decision was a giant step backwards for women, but we are undeterred and know we need to step up now more than ever,” she wrote in her post.
Pacsun’s co-CEOs Alfred Chang and Mike Relich posted to Linkedin a written statement confirming the company’s immediate update to its healthcare benefit policy to help cover travel costs of abortion.
“Today, the basic human right of bodily autonomy was taken away unfairly from women in our country, which we all believe to be a leader in progress and one that stands for all things good,” Chang and Relich said in the statement.
In addition to its current partnership with Girl Up, the company said it would be making an additional donation to the organization to “help educate women and girls about their agency and bodily autonomy as part of the full range of rights to which they are entitled.”