Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Uber also rely on large numbers of TVCs or gig workers and have announced abortion travel benefits for their employees. When asked if non-employee workers were covered, Microsoft spokeswoman Michelle Micor declined to answer; the other three companies did not respond.
Ironically, workers who are excluded from abortion travel benefits may need it more than full-time skilled workers, given their generally lower pay. In 2015, the Brookings Institution found that people with household incomes below the federal poverty level tend to have less access to contraception and family planning education, and are five times more likely to have unintended pregnancies than wealthier people. Blacks and Hispanics are overrepresented among abortion seekers.
People with lower incomes are also less likely to have health insurance that covers abortion. In 2014, the most recent data available from the abortion policy nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, only 31 percent of people seeking abortion care had any private health insurance. Another 35% is covered by Medicaid, which excludes most abortion coverage in the 34 states that don’t fund it.
Experts say there are many ways tech companies can support TVCs and gig workers later onroe America should they want to. These include funding a travel fund that temps and contractors can use, suspending political donations to anti-abortion politicians and reaching out to lawmakers against anti-abortion policies, said Shelley Alpern, director of corporate engagement at social impact investment firm Rhia Ventures. Big companies “are like sleeping giants on this issue,” Alpern said.
For companies that want to make a difference, other options include donating to local abortion funds where they do business or have employees, said Liza Fuentes, a senior research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute. “It’s a very achievable goal, and it’s desperately needed,” Fuentes said. Tech companies can work with the National Abortion Fund Network to allow donors to earmark funds for specific communities, as well as groups like Brigid Alliance to arrange and fund abortion care and travel for those in need, she said.
Some longtime employees within tech companies have been pressuring their own bosses to take some of these measures to support abortion.This Washington post It was reported last month that employees within Amazon, Microsoft and Google had circulated petitions and internal messages calling on their companies to commit to protecting the privacy of users seeking abortions.
In a statement calling on Alphabet to expand abortion travel benefits to TVCs, AWU’s Kuhl said the company should also stop donating to anti-abortion politicians and establish privacy protocols to protect Google users seeking information about abortion access. “History has proven that Supreme Court rulings do not prevent abortion, only safe abortion,” she wrote. “Google can do more to ensure all employees and users have the information and resources they need to safely access reproductive health services.”
A day after the AWU’s public statement, Google announced its privacy update, which included removing abortion clinic visits from users’ location histories. Software engineer and executive committee member Ashok Chandwaney acknowledged the changes but reiterated that the company must further protect the privacy of users and employees and expand access to abortion for all employees. “Our organization will continue,” he wrote.