Target will cover employees’ travel to other states for abortions

A person enters a Target store in Washington, DC on May 18, 2022.

Stefanie Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

According to a company memo obtained by CNBC, Target covers employees’ travel expenses if they live in a state where abortion is banned.

The new policy will go into effect in July, according to the email sent to employees Monday by Melissa Kremer, Target’s chief human resources officer.

“For years, our healthcare benefits have included some financial support for travel when team members needed select healthcare procedures that were not available where they lived,” Kremer said in the memo. “A few months ago, we began to re-evaluate our services to understand what it would look like if we expanded travel reimbursement to include all required and covered treatments but not available in the community of team members. Balanced, these efforts became more relevant as we learned of the Supreme Court ruling on abortion as it would affect access to health care in some states.

With the inversion of Roe v. Wade divided the country into states where abortion is legal and states where it is illegal. The court decision has prompted a spate of announcements from companies that have committed to covering employee travel expenses as part of their health insurance plans. This list spans all industries and includes JPMorgan Chase, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Rivian.

Some companies, like Amazon, announced travel insurance for employees who need reproductive health care in other states before the Supreme Court’s decision. The tech giant said it will pay up to $4,000 annually in travel expenses for abortions and other non-life-threatening medical treatments.

Target did not immediately respond to a request as to whether the travel policy would include a dollar limit. It didn’t say how it plans to protect the privacy of employees applying for travel expenses.

In the memo, the retailer said its reimbursement policy for healthcare travel will include travel for mental health, cardiac care and other services not available near employees’ homes, in addition to reproductive care.

Kremer said Target updated its policy to “ensure our team has equal access to quality, affordable care through our health services.”

In the memo, Target did not comment on the Supreme Court’s decision. Kremer commended Target employees for how they “acknowledge and respect a wide range of beliefs and opinions held by other team members and guests — even when those beliefs differ from their own.”

Other companies have remained silent after the Supreme Court decision. Walmart, the largest private employer in the US, declined to say if or how it will allow employees access to abortions in states where they are illegal. Its headquarters are in Arkansas, a state that already has a law triggering a ban on the books.

However, Walmart covers travel expenses for some medical care — including certain heart surgeries, cancer treatments, and organ transplants — that employees receive at hospitals in other states or cities far from home.

The Supreme Court’s decision has sparked outrage from some employees, who have urged their companies to go further. According to Business, hundreds of Amazon employees have signed an internal petition calling on the company to condemn the Supreme Court’s decision to halt operations in states with abortion bans and allow workers to move to other states if they have one live where the procedure is restricted, according to Business Insider.

CNBC’s John Rosevear contributed to this article.

This story evolves. Please check back for updates.