On March 15, banking giant Citigroup Inc. announced that the company will now be providing its Texas employees with travel expenses should they seek an abortion out of state after Texas lawmakers recently passed more restrictive laws intended to curb the practice of abortion.
According to a public filing the bank wrote, “In response to changes in reproductive health-care laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources.”
The policy reportedly will cover expenses, like airfare and lodgings, that employees could incur if they choose to travel out of state to receive an abortion.
The bank has more than 8,500 employees in Texas which passed some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S.. In Texas, individuals can now sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks.
Following the implementation of the new law, that took effect on Sept. 1, abortions in the state of Texas plummeted by more than 60 percent within the first month, according to state health department data.
The law, Bill 8, often referred to as the “heartbeat bill” prohibits abortion in Texas around the six-week period of pregnancy. “The only exception is if a doctor determines a patient will face a ‘medical emergency’ if the procedure isn’t performed,” The Houston Chronicle reported.
Citigroup’s move drew immediate condemnation by Texas Republicans. George P. Bush, told the Dallas Morning News in an email on Wednesday, “The ‘travel benefits’ offered by Citigroup is nothing more than a PR stunt by a ‘woke’ company to support a culture of death. Texas is a pro-life state, and if elected Attorney General, I will hold actors who attempt to find loopholes in our law accountable.”
Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas told his fellow Republicans to “avoid entrusting their finances with Citibank and other companies hostile to them and their values,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
Other companies have announced similar benefits for their employees. Match Group Inc.’s CEO Shar Dubey announced last year that she was creating a fund to help cover expenses related to recieving an abortion for her employees. The company’s competitor, Bumble, has created a similar fund.
In September, ride-hailing platforms Uber and Lyft said they would cover legal fees for drivers sued under the Texas law.
Other states are following Texas’ lead, passing similar abortion bans, including Idaho. On Monday Idaho’s senate passed a piece of legislation banning abortions after six weeks as well.
The measure passed in a 51-14 House vote with no Democratic support. The legislation allows family members to sue medical professionals who performed the abortion.
“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,” Republican Rep. Steven Harris, the bill’s sponsor said according to the Associated Press.
Under both the Texas and Idaho laws, women who have an abortion will not be prosecuted.