Linktree, Atlassian to reimburse travel costs for US employees seeking abortion services after Roe vs Wade overhaul

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Australian companies including Linktree and Atlassian say they will financially support employees who need to access abortion services outside of their home state, after the US Supreme Court overturned a 50-year-old precedent which protected safe abortion services as a constitutional right.

The conservative-majority Supreme Court on Saturday undid 1972’s Roe vs Wade ruling, effectively removing federal protections for abortion services nationwide and leaving the states to determine how, or if, such reproductive healthcare should operate.

States with conservative-led legislatures were quick to respond to the most consequential rollback of reproductive rights in decades.

The repeal of Roe vs Wade means nine states have abortion bans in effect, the New York Times reports, with some states outlawing the procedure even in case of rape or incest.

Another 12 states are likely to prohibit or restrict abortion services, the publication states. All told, 26.6 million women of reproductive age now live in states where abortion is illegal or soon-to-be outlawed.

As Americans respond to a devastating withdrawal of healthcare rights, some Australian firms with US workforces say they will help employees access abortion services if they are outlawed in their home state.

On Monday morning, Mitch King, Linktree’s head of talent acquisition, said his company would provide an allowance for the cost of travel and accommodation to a state which provides legal abortion services.

Linktree’s policy will also cover the expenses of a companion, King said. Employees will be afforded extra paid time off to recover from the procedure.

Mental health services will be provided through Headspace and Uprise, with those who need it “will be granted provide further psychological support on a case-by-case basis”.

“I’m proud of Linktree for doing this but I wish they didn’t have to,” King said.

Linktree’s statement comes just days after Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes unveiled a similar program.

“Starting today [Saturday June 25], US employees living in states that have restricted or banned abortions will be offered reimbursement for travel and accommodations for themselves and a companion should they seek care outside their state,” a company statement said.

“We will continue to look across the communities in which we operate to find ways to further support gender equality and help build a sustainable, equitable world.”

Smaller players are have also unveiled similar programs.

GAMURS Group, an Australian-based esports media company with a global presence, said it will provide a $2000 travel reimbursement to impacted employees.

Those seeking abortion services (or gender-affirming procedures, another recent target of conservative legislators in the US) will receive paid time off under GAMURS’ existing leave policy.

“As an Australian, it’s easy to take our healthcare system for granted, but today is a dark reminder of the rights and access that my peers at the GAMURS Group (and generally the US) are not afforded,” founder Riad Chikhani said Saturday.

Major American companies like JPMorgan Chase have unveiled similar responses, while Google has declared employees “can also apply for relocation without justification, and those overseeing this process will be aware of the situation”.


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