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One of America's largest banking corporations is reportedly shelling out cash to help employees circumvent state abortion laws.
As a growing number of Republican-controlled states pass new measures to defend unborn lives, Citigroup announced to its shareholders recently that it is starting to cover the travel costs for abortion-seeking employees, Bloomberg News reported.
"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 bank wrote in a filing to be shared during an April 26 shareholder meeting.
Bloomberg reported that the policy will cover all travel-related expenses, including airfare and lodging, for employees who need to travel to a different state to undergo an abortion procedure.
The move aims to counteract abortion bans passed in states like Texas, where a new law prohibiting the procedure after fetal cardiac activity is detected — typically six weeks gestation — has been implemented and upheld. Under the law, state residents are empowered to sue doctors, clinic workers, or anyone who performs an abortion or "aids abets" a woman's attempts to terminate a pregnancy.
Just this week, Idaho's state legislature passed its own abortion ban modeled after the Texas law. It now awaits Republican Gov. Brad Little's signature, which he is expected to provide. Several other states, as well, have either advanced abortion restricting measures in recent years or are now working on legislation.
Citigroup reportedly employs more than 8,500 people in Texas and more than 200,000 people in the U.S.
The banking giant has now joined several other companies, such as dating app conglomerate Match Group Inc. and rideshare firms Lyft and Uber, in using corporate money to combat the Texas law.
Match Group announced last year that it was creating a fund for Texas-based employees that would "help cover the additional costs incurred" of traveling out-of-state for an abortion, Axios reported. Lyft and Uber have both said they would cover the legal fees for drivers sued under the Texas law.
Perhaps it's company policies such as these that have kept Texas' law from preventing as many abortions as first estimated. Studies produced this year have shown that the law resulted in abortions falling by about 10% in the state since its passage.
Pro-life advocates were quick to point out that any decrease in abortions is something to be celebrated, but the tenacity with which abortion supporters seek to aid pregnancy terminations was noted. Undoubtedly, many pro-life advocates hope that the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court later this year will unlock new possibilities for the movement.
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