Walmart, the country’s largest employer, is expanding its abortion insurance to employees after remaining largely silent on the issue following a Supreme Court ruling that decimated the nation’s abortion rights.
In a memo sent to employees Friday, the company said its health plan will now cover abortions for employees “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or lack of fetal viability.”
Previously, the company’s benefit plan covered abortion only in cases “when the health of the mother would be at risk for the abortion of the fetus, the fetus might not survive the birth process, or death was imminent after birth,” according to a copy of the policy from Associated Press reviewed but not confirmed by Walmart.
Donna Morris, the retailer’s chief people officer, said in a memo to employees that the new policy would also provide “travel assistance” for workers seeking abortions as part of its healthcare plans, as well as their dependents – so they can access those services . are not accessible within 100 miles of their locations.
Walmart employs about 1.6 million people in the US. In Arkansas, where the company is based, abortion is prohibited under all circumstances, unless a medical emergency requires the procedure to protect the life of the mother. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. That means, under the revised policy, Walmart employees can travel out of state — or any other state that bans abortions for rape and incest — to get the process through the retailer’s healthcare plans.
Several companies – including Meta, American Express and Bank of America – have said they will cover their employees’ travel expenses following a High Court ruling, including the electoral abortion in which Roe v. Wade was sacked. However, a Walmart spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether any of the company’s revised policies would also cover elective abortion.