Businesses craft policies in response to Tennessee abortion ban

By: - June 29, 2022 7:02 am
More than a thousand people in Nashville on Friday protested the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson. (Photo: John Partipilo)

More than a thousand people in Nashville on Friday protested the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Following Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, several companies announced their support for reproductive rights by offering to cover abortion expenses for employees. 

Tennessee’s abortion “trigger ban” law will take effect in mid-August. creating a near-total ban on abortions within state borders.  Tennessee is one of 13 states that have abortion trigger laws. 

Companies offering to cover abortion and reproductive-related expenses, including travel to other states, inclue Starbucks, DoorDash, Airbnb, Dicks’s Sporting Goods, among other businesses with national profiles.

Airbnb, DoorDash and Starbucks will offer financial support to employees living in states with abortion bans, including employees living in Tennessee.

“Airbnb’s U.S. healthcare coverage supports reproductive rights, and we have taken steps to ensure that our employees have the resources they need to make choices about their reproductive care, as we committed to last fall,” said Liz DeBold Fusco, spokesperson for the company, noting that more than 55% of Airbnb hosts are women.

“It’s paramount that all DoorDash employees and their dependents covered on our health plans have equitable, timely access to safe healthcare. This is one of our guiding principles as an employer,” said Abby Homer, spokesperson for DoorDash.Ford Motor Co. logo

A spokesperson for Ford Motor Co., which will bring thousands of workers to Tennessee in conjunction with the automotive company’s Blue Oval City manufacturing campus in West Tennessee, said abortion services in various forms are included in health care plans offered to employees.

“We believe that medical decisions are best left to individuals and their medical providers, not their employers,” said Catherine Hargett.

Salaried employees with Ford can use also their health savings accounts to reimburse themselves for transportation related to abortion care. 

Ford has not been hesitant to weigh in on medical and political issues in Tennessee since making the decision to site its massive new facility in West Tennessee, first cautioning lawmakers during an October 2021 special session about prohibiting private companies from requiring employees to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID. In March, Ford officials reached out to Tennessee leaders about a plan by Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower to financially take over the predominantly-Black town of Mason, just miles from the Blue Oval site. 

Other companies have yet to make a decision. 

Vanderbilt University established a task force in early June following a Supreme Court leak that will focus on the impact of a statewide abortion ban in Tennessee, including clinical care, student and employee health and educational instruction. Based on the task force findings, the university will take measures to address the abortion ban. Vanderbilt University logo

“We recognize the decision will have a broad impact on members of the university community—with practical and policy implications that will affect the provision of medical care, medical training and research, as well as the ways we conceptualize and protect women’s rights, freedom and opportunities. We have charged the task force with anticipating and mitigating potential negative consequences for our students, faculty and staff,” said Cybele Raver, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, in a press release.  

A Nissan staffer hung up on a Lookout reporter asking about the company’s policy. Later, a spokesman for the auto manufacturer, which operates a plant in Smyrna, said no decisions have been made about the new law. 

Dollar General, whose headquarters are located in Goodlettsville, did not respond to inquiries for comment.

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Dulce Torres Guzman
Dulce Torres Guzman

Dulce has written for the Nashville Scene and Crucero News. A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, she received the John Seigenthaler Award for Outstanding Graduate in Print Journalism in 2016. Torres Guzman is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She enjoys the outdoors and is passionate about preserving the environment and environmental issues.