Walmart Expands Staff Abortion Coverage After Roe Overthrown

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Walmart is expanding its employee health care plans to cover more situations where its staff could request an abortion, making the nation’s largest private employer the latest company to offer enhanced access to reproductive health services after Roe v. Wade was overthrown.

Walmart, headquartered in Arkansas, with 1.6 million employees in the United States, said it would cover abortions “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest.” It also reimburses the procedure in the event of a miscarriage, lack of fetal viability, or ectopic pregnancy, when a fetus implants outside the womb. The company will provide “travel support” to employees and dependents if they need access to a health service covered by Walmart’s insurance plan, but there is no viable provider within 100 miles of their location.

Walmart’s top human resources officer said in an internal memo that the new benefits are effective immediately.

A trigger ban on abortions — except when the mother’s life is in danger — went into effect in Arkansas after the US Supreme Court was overturned roe deer, in which a fundamental right to the procedure was established. About 53 percent of Walmart employees in the United States are women. It operates more than 2,000 stores in states that have banned abortion or imposed near-total restrictions on the procedure.

Last year, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) signed the trigger ban into law, though he said earlier this month he supports rape and incest exceptions. There was no immediate response to Walmart’s move by senior GOP leaders in Arkansas, although the move was criticized by some anti-abortion activists.

Other companies that have provided support to workers seeking to terminate a pregnancy include Disney, which employs some 80,000 people in Florida, a state with an almost complete ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Dick’s Sporting Goods has said it will reimburse employees up to $4,000 in travel expenses to the nearest location where abortion is legal. Lyft and JPMorgan, as well as Walmart competitors Target and CVS, have taken similar steps.

Walmart and the Walton family — the descendants of the company’s founder and owners of major retail interests — have a history of supporting conservative causes and politicians. According to the Open Secrets campaign finance watchdog, Walmart donated two to three times more to the GOP than the Democratic Party in many election cycles before 2008.

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In recent years, the retail giant and the Walton family have expanded their contributions to include liberal politicians and moderate Republicans. In 2020, Walmart gave similar amounts to Republican and Democratic politicians; that year, the family contributed more to Democratic congressional candidates.

This year’s donations from individual family members to GOP politicians included $17,400 to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who supports abortion rights and recently ran for a candidate backed by former President Donald Trump in a Senate primary. They have also given $250,000 to the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group.

Walmart was one of dozens of companies that stopped donations to lawmakers who voted against the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 win after the Capitol uprising of January 6, 2021.

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