By Dawn Chmielewski
(Reuters) -The Walt Disney Co on Friday said it will cover travel expenses for employees seeking family planning or reproductive care following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade ruling that protected a woman’s right to abortion.
The company told employees that it recognizes the impact of the abortion ruling, but it remains committed to providing comprehensive access to quality healthcare – including family planning and reproductive care, according to a Disney spokesman.
The company’s benefits will cover the cost of employees who need to travel to another location to access care, including to obtain an abortion, it said.
Disney employs about 80,000 people at Walt Disney World resort in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of gestation.
The Florida law, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1, is patterned after Mississippi’s 15-week ban that was at the center of the Supreme Court ruling.
The company’s stance could again put it at odds with DeSantis, who stripped Disney of its self-governing status for Disney World in apparent retaliation to its opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which opponents branded as “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.
As major corporations such as Amazon.com, Citigroup, Levi Strauss & Co publicly pledged to pay for employees travel to obtain abortions, after Politico published the court’s draft opinion, Disney had declined to weigh in.
America’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, has also joined the growing list of major companies that will cover expenses for U.S.-based employees who need to travel to get a legal abortion.
(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Mark Porter and Bill Berkrot)