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'Toss Target' boycott launched over retailer's vow to cover abortion travel

Target
Visitors shop at a Target store. |

A prominent conservative advocacy group is calling for Americans to boycott Target over the major retailer's vow to fund out-of-state travel expenses for employees seeking abortions.

Concerned Women for America has announced the "Toss Target" campaign encouraging Americans to refrain from shopping at Target over the company's policies on hot-button issues, particularly abortion.

"For the past several years, Target has taken a strong stance on several issues that go against the values of Concerned Women for America (CWA)," the campaign website states.

"Now, with the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, Target's corporate leaders have announced that they will cover their employees' travel if they live in a state where abortion has become illegal. We at CWA are fed up with spending our heard-earned money on corporations that would rather encourage women to terminate the lives of their unborn children than supply them with the necessary maternity leave and childcare they need. With that, it is time to 'Toss Target.'"

Target is one of the dozens of major American corporations that have offered to fund out-of-state travel for employees seeking abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court's June 24 Jackson v. Women's Health Organization ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Many states have banned or severely restricted abortion following the Dobbs decision.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance elaborated on why her organization is directing its campaign at Target instead of other companies committed to funding employees' out-of-state abortion travel expenses.

"I think as a women's organization, we are thoughtful about how we can really make a difference," she said. "Moms and young women often shop at Target. Moms shop at Target for children's school supplies and for equipment for sports and all the things that are coming up going into fall."

Nance believes it's "really important for the conservative, pro-life movement to set an example, to make an example of specific companies."

CWA wants to "put Fortune 500 companies and others on notice about the danger of weighing in [on] the big moral questions of the time," identifying abortion as "the greatest moral question of our time."

"If we want to actually put them on notice about the downside of paying for their employees to go have an abortion using our money and their profits to do it, we've got to be able to … lean into the companies where we can actually make a difference," she added.

August is a critical time for retailers because it's when families are purchasing their back-to-school supplies and clothing. Nance said families "have an enormous amount of power to lean into these issues and let retailers know where they stand."

While Americans are divided on the abortion issue, polling suggests that a majority of Americans support limits on abortion. Nance contends that employers paying for their employees' out-of-state travel for abortion "are on the wrong side of this."

"The only way really to make them listen is to just simply not shop there and choose another retailer," she concluded. "Americans have ubiquitous options for retail opportunities."

In a statement Wednesday, Nance argues that companies that provide extra support for employees seeking to have an abortion but not employees planning to give birth are "practicing discrimination."

"[T]heir actions are a slap in the face to the … millions of Americans who support life," she said.

In a memo obtained by CNBC, Target's Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Kremer said that for years, the company's healthcare plan has included financial travel support when employees need healthcare procedures that aren't available in their immediate area. 

"[A] few months ago, we started re-evaluating our benefits with the goal of understanding what it would look like if we broadened the travel reimbursement to any care that's needed and covered – but not available in the team member's community," the memo stated. 

"This effort became even more relevant as we learned about the Supreme Court's ruling on abortion, given that it would impact access to healthcare in some states."

CNBC reported that the healthcare travel reimbursement policy would "include travel for mental health, cardiac care and other services that aren't available close to employees' homes," as well as abortions.

Kremer cited the policy as necessary to "ensure our team has equal access to high-quality, low-cost healthcare through our healthcare benefits." She praised Target's employees for their ability to "recognize and respect a wide spectrum of beliefs and opinions that other team members and guests hold close – even if those beliefs differ from their own."

Target has angered conservatives in the past by embracing a policy allowing trans-identified individuals to use bathrooms and changing rooms that correspond with their stated gender identity as opposed to their biological sex.

This policy caused the retailer to become the subject of a boycott effort in 2016, with over 1 million people signing a pledge to cease doing business with Target.

CWA crafted a sample email supporters can send to Target corporate leadership.

"Until you halt funding for abortion services, I will no longer be shopping at your stores and will encourage others to do the same," the sample email states. 

"If Target is offering money to pay for the termination of unborn children, what benefits are you providing to women who choose to have their children?" the email asked. "Your discriminatory policy is anti-woman and anti-family while pushing the narrative that a mother is not capable of raising her child and being successful in the workplace. I suggest you put that funding towards programs that help both the woman and the child like donating to crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agencies."

CWA compiled a list of alternative companies from different sectors that do not fund employees' out-of-state travel for abortions as a resource for those looking to join the boycott. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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