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Levi’s calls protecting reproductive rights a “business imperative”

By Jennifer Mason

May 5, 2022

Business

Supporters of Roe v. Wade on May 3 in New York City’s Foley Square. Image by Jennifer Mason

In the wake of a leaked draft majority opinion from the US Supreme Court made public by Politico on Monday that appears set to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which has guaranteed federal protections of abortion rights, Levi Strauss & Co. became one of the first companies to take a public stance on the matter.

If the decision by the staunchly conservative justices holds, an almost fifty year precedent would be undone turning the rights of women over to the states—of which twenty-three are projected to implement a ban on the procedure. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, this would go against the wishes of approximately sixty percent of Americans who state that Roe v. Wade should remain upheld by the court.

In a blog post published yesterday by the clothing company entitled, “Protecting Reproductive Rights–A Business Imperative,” Levi Strauss & Co. committed to provide reimbursement to employees for “healthcare-related travel expenses for services not available in their home state, including those related to reproductive health care and abortion.” The company noted it would also offer those not covered by their benefits plan, such as part-time hourly employees, a process in which to seek reimbursement for the same purpose.

“Access to reproductive health care, including abortion, has been a critical factor to the workplace gains and contributions women have made over the past fifty years,” the blog post would go on to state while importantly pointing out that “criminalizing access will jeopardize that progress and disproportionately affect women of color, putting their well-being at risk and impeding diverse hiring pipelines.”

While acknowledging that the topic is fraught, Levi Strauss & Co. affirms the role corporations must play to help ensure a more just and equitable future for all. “Given what is at stake, business leaders need to make their voices heard and act to protect the health and well-being of our employees. That means protecting reproductive rights.”

Amazon, the second largest private employer in the US, told its employees this week that it will pay up to 4,000 dollars in travel expenses annually for non-life threatening medical treatments including abortions, according to internal messages obtained by Reuters.

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