Many Americans mourned when the Supreme Court of the United States ended the constitutional right to an abortion with the striking down of Roe v. Wade. Since then, states have been scrambling to either instate total abortion bans or shore up protections so that people can still access the procedure.
But with the political outlook varying by states, a number of corporations, including some based in Pittsburgh, are pledging direct support to their employees.
Duolingo, the language learning app company with headquarters in East Liberty, and the retail chain DICK'S Sporting Goods both put out statements supporting their employees' rights to travel to and receive services at abortion providers, no matter what state they live in.
Duolingo made the announcement June 24 in an internal email to employees not long after the ruling was passed down. On the same day, DICK'S released a statement on various social media accounts, announcing that, if a teammate lives in a state that restricts access to abortion, "DICK’S Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available." It says the benefit "will be provided to any teammate, spouse or dependent enrolled in our medical plan, along with one support person."
"While we do not know what decision each state will make in response to this ruling, we at DICK’S Sporting Goods are prepared to ensure that all of our teammates have consistent and safe access to the benefits we provide, regardless of the state in which they live," reads the statement, which was also posted to the LinkedIn page of CEO and president Lauren Hobart.
The statement continues, "We recognize people feel passionately about this topic – and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision. However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them."
Ed Stack, the company's executive chairman, also signed off on the message.
When Pittsburgh City Paper emailed Duolingo about their own policy, public relations manager Monica Earle provided this statement: “At Duolingo, it is extremely important to us that all our employees have access to the full spectrum of reproductive care, including abortion services. We are updating our benefits to ensure every Duolingo employee in the United States can access reproductive healthcare, including reimbursement for any travel expenses necessary for accessing abortion services.”
Duolingo and DICK'S add to a growing list of companies who have come out in support of their employees being able to access various reproductive health services affected by the Roe v. Wade ruling. Reuters reported on June 27 that major corporations like Amazon and Disney, as well as Lyft, Netflix, Starbucks, and many others, now offer abortion coverage or travel benefits for out-of-state abortions "to U.S. employees who may need to access abortion services."