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'Unjust, Unacceptable Setback': Tech Giants Speak up Against US Abortion Ban But Some Choose Silence

By: Bhaswati Guha Majumder

News18.com

Last Updated: June 27, 2022, 10:54 IST

Abortion rights demonstrators protest the day after the United States Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision, in Washington on June 25, 2022. (REUTERS/Shuran Huang)

Abortion rights demonstrators protest the day after the United States Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision, in Washington on June 25, 2022. (REUTERS/Shuran Huang)

Google, Apple, Meta Platform, Microsoft and Amazon have said employees are free to seek travel and transfers to pro-choice states

The US Supreme Court last week overturned the Roe v Wade precedent that for decades guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. A draft opinion leaked months ago had led to fears that the landmark judgment could be overturned and last Friday, the largely conservative US Supreme Court, by a 6-3 majority, overturned the 1973 judgment that made abortion a constitutional right.

As trigger bans came into effect in most red states, tech giant Google discussed the ruling in a company-wide email and explained that employees in affected states can ask for transfer without providing a justification.

“This is a profound change for the country that deeply effects so many of us, especially women. Googlers can also apply for relocation without justification, and those overseeing this process will be aware of the situation,” Google said in the email, as reported by CNBC.

According to a report by Tech Crunch, a spokesperson for Microsoft stated that the corporation will do everything in its power and within the law to assist its employees and their families in obtaining healthcare, regardless of where they live in the US.

Prior to the verdict, the corporation offered abortion and gender-affirming care in its health plans. Microsoft said this will not change. Additionally, it stated that the company will continue to reimburse travel expenses for “lawful medical services” where access to care is restricted in availability in an employee’s home geographic region.

Meanwhile, Meta Platform, the parent company of Facebook, said it will cover employees’ travel expenses to the extent permissible by law if they need to seek out-of-state health care and reproductive services.

Apple announced on June 24 that employees can utilise company insurance to go out of state for medical care. “As we’ve said before, we support our employees’ rights to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health. For more than a decade, Apple’s comprehensive benefits have allowed our employees to travel out-of-state for medical care if it is unavailable in their home state,” an Apple spokesperson said.

E-commerce behemoth Amazon also said it would reimburse up to $4,000 in travel fees for abortions and non-life-threatening medical procedures.

According to reports, JPMorgan gave more than $100,000 to proponents of abortion restrictions, while over the previous few years, Yelp, Uber, and Lyft have already donated tens of thousands of dollars to anti-abortion lawmakers.

Tech Leaders

SpaceX and Tesla boss Elon Musk’s Twitter account contained a pinned tweet from May that stated, “USA birth rate has been below min sustainable levels for ~50 years”. But apart from this, he has been silent on the controversial ruling.

However, in September last year, the billionaire stated that he would prefer to remain out of politics and declined to talk about Texas’s severe abortion law. But Texas Governor Greg Abbott had claimed that the Tesla CEO backed the “social policies” of his state at the time.

Musk has also said that he would think about supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president. It is noteworthy that following the Supreme Court’s decision, the Republican Governor has promised to increase “pro-life protections” but didn’t say how he or Florida’s Republican-controlled House and Senate will try to further restrict abortion availability in the state.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates called the Supreme Court ruling an “unacceptable setback” that endangers women’s lives. “Reversing Roe v. Wade is an unjust and unacceptable setback. And it puts women’s lives at risk, especially the most disadvantaged,” he tweeted.

Sheryl Sandberg, who is the departing Meta COO, in a long Facebook post wrote: “I cannot believe that I’m going to send my three daughters to college with fewer rights than I had.”

“The Supreme Court’s ruling jeopardizes the health and the lives of millions of girls and women across the country. It threatens to undo the progress women have made in the workplace and to strip women of economic power. It will make it harder for women to achieve their dreams. And it will disproportionately impact women with the fewest resources.”

“This is a huge setback. For ourselves, our daughters, and every generation that follows, we must keep up the fight. Together, we must protect and expand abortion access,” she added.

YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki in a tweet said that “as a woman, it’s a devastating setback”.

“I personally believe every woman should have a choice about how and when to become a mother. Reproductive rights are human rights,” she tweeted.

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first published:June 27, 2022, 10:54 IST
last updated:June 27, 2022, 10:54 IST