Female CEOs from Bumble, Match Group and Citigroup lead charge to help employees seek abortions

employees seek abortion

Whitney Wolfe Herd during Bumble's IPO. Source: Bumble on Instagram.

In the US, a growing number of corporations are taking a stand against newly enacted restrictive abortions laws by helping to cover the travel costs for their employees seeking abortions.

Bumble, Match Group, and Citigroup are among the companies that will assist their employees who live in states that have implemented or have proposed a near total ban on abortion.

All three companies are led by female CEOs.

Over the past year, many states across the US with Republican-led legislatures have been passing new abortion laws in anticipation of the Supreme Court destabilising existing abortion protections later this year.

Last September, Texas enacted a law which gave anyone from the public the right to sue individuals who assist women in getting abortions after six weeks — before many women know they are pregnant.

This week, a bill in Idaho that aims to prevent most abortions from occurring passed in the state legislature — it would ban abortion after six weeks, and permits the father, siblings, grandparents, uncles or aunts of the fetus to sue a medical provider who performs the procedure, according to ABC News.

On Monday, Citigroup’s CEO Jane Fraser, announced that due to “changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we will provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources”.

Citigroup is the first major US bank to make such a commitment to its employees.

According to a source close to the firm, Citigroup will cover the transportation and lodging for employees who are required to leave states such as Texas and Idaho for abortions.

Last year, when Texas banned abortion at six weeks, Match Group CEO Shar Dubey was one of the first and only public firm CEOs to speak out. Match Group owns a number of dating sites such as Match, OkCupid and Tinder.

In September, Dubey, created a support fund for Texas-based employees of Match Group who required care outside the state.

“I immigrated to America from India over 25 years ago and I have to say, as a Texas resident, I am shocked that I now live in a state where women’s reproductive laws are more regressive than most of the world, including India,” Dubey said.

“Surely everyone should see the danger of this highly punitive and unfair law that doesn’t even make an exception for victims of rape or incest.”

In the same month, Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO of Bumble, created a relief fund to support the reproductive rights of women and people across the gender spectrum who seek abortions in Texas.

“Bumble is women-founded and women-led, and from day one we’ve stood up for the most vulnerable,” the firm announced on Twitter. “We’ll keep fighting against regressive laws like #SB8,” referring to “The Texas Heartbeat Act”, which prohibits abortion after the detection of embryonic or fetal cardiac activity.

Witold Henisz, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business told Reuters an increasing number of companies are enacting their own policies to help vulnerable employees.

“More and more companies are being forced to take stands on issues because of the demands of some stakeholders that antagonize other stakeholders,” he said.

“Millennial workers and consumers demand that companies take stands and look to (their) CEOs especially where the government has failed to act or taken a stand of which they disapprove. This will continue to grow as a strategic challenge for companies.”

On Monday night, Idaho’s House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow family members of the foetus to sue the medical provider who performs the abortion for a minimum of $20,000 within four years of the procedure.

“This bill makes sure that the people of Idaho can stand up for our values and do everything in our power to prevent the wanton destruction of innocent human life,” State Representative Steven Harris said in a statement.

The bill will now be taken to Republican Governor Brad Little to sign off.

Kim Clark, senior attorney at Legal Voice, told ABC News that the new law may lead to women in abusive relationships being additionally harassed by their partners.

“This essentially makes the state complicit in intimate partner violence,” Clark, whose group advocates for the legal rights of women, girls and LGBTQ persons in the Northwest, said.

“Allowing a member of the person’s family to bring a claim, that could include an abuser where the survivor hasn’t reported the assault.”

“When women are unable to access abortion care, rates of homicide or harm to other children can skyrocket.”

Legal Voice’s programs manager in Idaho believes the lawmakers are not actually trying to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

“The same body voted down a contraception bill that would allow women to get birth control for up to six months,” Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln told ABC News.

“They don’t really care about preventing unwanted pregnancies. This is about political control.”

This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.


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