Photo Credit: Sundry Photography
Two months after the US Supreme Court decided to reverse the historic Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion, Walmart announced last Friday that it will expand its coverage on abortion and travel. Walmart announced the immediate implementation of its healthcare program, which includes abortion “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or lack of fetal viability,” in an internal memo.
If they do not live within 100 miles of a clinic that offers access to abortions, family members of Walmart employees and their labor force are guaranteed travel expenses. The chief people officer at Walmart, Donna Morris, sent the email to the workers.
Given that Walmart employs more than 1.6 million people and is one of the largest employers in the US, this is a substantial advantage for pro-abortion citizens. Furthermore, the company’s headquarters are currently located in Arkansas, a state that, in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, has started enforcing its strict abortion prohibition. The announcement came after the same policy was enforced by other market leaders like Target and Apple.
Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, noted last month that the firm is working carefully and diligently to decide the “best path forward” and that this decision from the US Supreme Court makes it particularly challenging for Walmart. McMillon did not specify the modifications the company wanted impose at the time of the announcement.
Walmart in support of abortion rights
Walmart’s employee handbook states that the health package it offers covers “procedures, services, drugs and supplies related to abortions or termination of pregnancy are not covered, except when the health of the mother would be in danger if the fetus were carried to term, the fetus could not survive the birthing process, or death would be imminent after birth.”
Walmart’s adherence to the at-the-time-guaranteed rights under Roe v. Wade is demonstrated by this. The updates to their coverage of abortion were included in the memo that was recently released by chief people officer Morris. She continued, “We listened to our associates about what’s important to them.”
“We strive to provide quality, competitive and accessible health coverage that supports you and your families,” added Morris in the memo.
The updates also include a $5,000 increase to $20,000 in financial assistance for employees participating in adoption processes. Additionally, the opening of Walmart’s center for fertility services was announced.
Walmart is currently headquartered in a state where a trigger policy was put into place as soon as the Supreme Court’s decision was released to the public months ago. For their Arkansan counterparts, the company has not yet issued a statement regarding the coverage expansion.
Overturning Roe v. Wade
Less than two months prior, the Supreme Court surprised the country by deciding to overturn the aspects of the Roe v. Wade precedent-setting case that guaranteed the federal right to access abortion. The landmark case that had made abortions legal in most US states since 1973 was deemed unconstitutional by a 5–4 vote.
Other states have abortion-related trigger laws. In the event that the Roe v. Wade ruling is overturned by the court, these laws will go into effect immediately. One of them is Arkansas, the home state of Walmart.
According to Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the majority opinion that subsequently overturned Roe, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
“That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ’implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
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