Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Uber also rely on large pools of TVCs or concertgoers and have announced benefits of abortion travel for their employees. When asked if non-employed workers were covered, Microsoft spokeswoman Michelle Micor declined to answer; the other three companies did not respond.
Ironically, it is probably more likely that the workers who are shut out of benefits during abortion trips need it than full-time employees in technology, given their generally lower compensation. In 2015, Brookings Institution found that people with a family income below the federal poverty line, who tend to have less access to contraception and education in family planning, were 5 times more likely than more affluent people to experience unintended pregnancies. Black and Latin American people are overrepresented among abortion seekers.
People with lower incomes are also less likely to have health insurance that covers abortion. In 2014, in the past year, for which the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization for abortion policy, has data, only 31 percent of people seeking abortion care had any private health insurance at all. A further 35 percent were covered by Medicaid, which excludes most abortion coverage in 34 states it will not fund it.
Experts say there are many ways technology companies can support TVCs and concert workers in post-Roe USA, if they will. Shelley Alpern, director of corporate engagement at Rhia Ventures, a social impact investment firm that submits shareholder decisions that pressure companies to support reproductive rights, says these steps include setting up a travel fund that temps and contractors can use, suspending political donations to anti-abortion politicians, and contact lawmakers to oppose anti-abortion policies. Large companies “are like sleeping giants in this matter,” says Alpern.
Other options for companies that want to make a difference include donating to local abortion funds in places where they do business or have employees, says Liza Fuentes, senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute. “It’s pretty low-hanging fruit, and it’s desperately needed,” Fuentes says. She says technology companies could work with the National Network of Abortion Funds, which lets donors earmark funds for specific communities, and groups like the Brigid Alliance, which arranges and funds abortion care and travel for people in need.
Some permanent employees of technology companies have pressured their own bosses to take some of these steps to support access to abortion. That Washington Post reported it last month Employees of Amazon, Microsoft and Google have circulated petitions and internal messages urging their companies to promise to protect the privacy of users seeking abortion.
In its statement urging Alphabet to extend the benefits of abortion travel to TVCs, AWU’s Koul said the company should also stop donating to anti-abortion politicians and establish privacy protocols to protect Google users seeking information on abortion access. “History has proven that the Supreme Court ruling will not stop abortions, it will only stop safe abortions,” she wrote. “Google can do more to ensure that all employees and users have the necessary information and resources to securely access reproductive health services.”
One day after the AWU released its statement, Google released its privacy updates, which include deleting abortion clinic visits from users’ location history. Software engineer and board member Ashok Chandwaney acknowledged the changes, but reiterated that the company must go further in protecting the privacy of users and workers and expanding abortion access for all its employees. “Our organization will continue,” he wrote.