Amazon announced Monday that it would cover up to $4,000 in travel expenses to employees seeking non-life-threatening medical treatments, including abortions, joining a growing list of corporations offering their employees abortion coverage.
The policy, which is effective Jan. 1, is retroactive and it applies to "treatment" that is not available within 100 miles of the employee's home or if virtual care is not possible.
Abortion is included among the treatments Amazon has promised to reimburse, alongside cardiology, cellular gene therapies and substance abuse disorder services. The company also provides up to $10,000 in annual travel reimbursements for life-threatening issues.
Amazon described the company policy details in a message obtained by Reuters. The new plan is open to U.S. employees or covered dependents enrolled in Aetna or Premera health plans. The announcement of the new policy comes just as Amazon announced that it would no longer offer paid leave to employees diagnosed with COVID-19, and instead offer five days of excused unpaid leave.
National Right to Life Committee President Carol Tobias told The Christian Post that she found Amazon's announcement that it will pay for employees' abortion-related travel expenses "disappointing."
"I think it means there's a large company that would rather kill their employees' children than have to cover maternity expenses and maternity leave," she said. "And, you know, moms can apparently be a financial drag on the corporation. At least that's what they seem to be saying."
"I look at this as a cost-saving measure for the company, which really degrades motherhood. It totally ignores the humanity of the unborn child."
Tobias believes the corporation's announcement is in response to states that are enacting abortion restrictions and engaging in "pro-life efforts to protect unborn children." This may include states poised to implement laws that would reduce or eliminate abortion if the U.S.Supreme Court ever struck down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Such states include Oklahoma and Alabama.
The U.S. Supreme Court is also expected to rule in the coming months on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a decision that could alter the country's abortion laws. At the center of the matter is the constitutionality of Mississippi's 2018 Gestational Age Act, which banned most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
A ruling in favor of Mississippi would chip away at the precedent set by Roe. A leaked draft opinion in the case suggests that a majority of justices are primed to decide that Roe must be overruled.
Amazon is not the only corporation offering to pay for abortion-related travel expenses. Earlier this year, multinational investment bank Citigroup and customer review website Yelp stated that they would also provide travel benefits for employees leaving the state for an abortion. It is possible these new company policies were a response to pro-life protections like the Texas Heartbeat Act, which went into effect last September. The Texas law prohibits physicians from committing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat becomes detectable, usually around six weeks gestation.
"It's just really sad and disappointing that we would be telling women that, instead of being successful, having a career, their employers can put pressure on them to get an abortion so that the pregnancy doesn't interfere with their job," Tobias added. "That's just the wrong message to be sending to women."
The pro-life leader contends that killing one's unborn child is not an "easy decision," stressing that many women undergo psychological and emotional trauma after an abortion.
According to a 2011 quantitative analysis study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, abortion can substantially increase a woman's risk of experiencing mental health problems. The study found that post-abortive women experience an 81% increased risk of having subsequent mental health issues.
Some studies conducted by abortion proponents claim that there is no correlation between abortion and mental health issues in women and that carrying an "unwanted pregnancy" to term is more traumatizing to women. Other studies from pro-life resources, however, dispute those findings.
The National Right to Life President believes corporations like Amazon, Citigroup and Yelp could better serve pregnant female employees by creating a family-oriented work culture instead of paying for their abortions.
"I would think they should recognize that a woman who is happy if she's got children that add fulfillment to her life, she's going to be a better employee," Tobias said. "You know, create a positive environment. Celebrate the babies, invite the kids to Christmas parties."
"Make it a family-friendly, life-positive environment," she continued. "And I think they would get a lot more out of their employees than pushing death in the atmosphere and the environment."