Human Resources and Abortion

A look at some questions businesses are asking following the Roe V. Wade reversal

by CoVaBizMag

Kristina Vaquera, director of programs for Hampton Roads Society for Human Resources Management (HRSHRM), knew the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade would spark questions in her membership, especially for those with multi-state businesses. How would states now being solely responsible for laws affecting access to abortion affect businesses and their employees?

“Our membership is always very interested in what is going on with benefits,” Vaquera says. “It has a huge impact on what they do.”

So, she planned her organization’s August 11 meeting on the topic. Days before the meeting, Vaquera shared that human resource professionals should be prepared to advise their C-suite executives. Questions to consider included:
• If your business operates in a state with “trigger laws,” where abortion was nearly or fully banned once the Supreme Court spoke, what changes, if any, need to be made to employees’ health care benefits?

• Does one of the states where you operate penalize anyone assisting a woman seeking an abortion? Could employee benefits covering abortion put the company at risk? Could benefits to cover travel and recuperation time present a risk?

• Should your business add benefits such as reimbursement for out-of-state health care, including abortion, and related travel and recuperation time?

• Should you add or extend pregnancy and maternity benefits? Additional mental health benefits?

• How could employee recruitment efforts be affected? What about retention? Will employees leave jobs or not be interested in new jobs in states where abortion access is denied or limited?

• Should the company have a policy or offer guidance to employees on speaking out about abortion access?

“As they get ready to decide what they’re going to do with their [health care] plans before open enrollment (usually the last few months of the calendar year),” Vaquera notes, “now is when they need to make these decisions.”

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