Following news that the U.S. Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision on Friday (June 24), companies including Disney and Chase Bank immediately released statements noting that they would be covering travel expenses for employees who are forced to go out-of-state for abortion care.
While employees in Los Angeles and New York, largely seen as the geographic centers of the music industry, are in no danger of losing access to abortion care given strong state laws providing for it, those residing in states like Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Georgia, among others, are set to face a near-total lack of access through so-called “trigger laws” (as in Tennessee) designed to immediately ban abortion in the event of Roe being overturned by the high court. Others, including Texas and Georgia, already have strict laws limiting access to abortion but could institute further restrictions after being emboldened by Friday’s decision.
In the wake of the news, Billboard reached out to major music companies and organizations to see whether they’ve enacted policies in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision. Below is a roundup of their responses.
Following the court’s ruling, Apple released a statement reaffirming its support of employees to “make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health” and confirmed that its medical benefits plan supports out-of-state-travel. “For more than a decade, Apple’s comprehensive benefits have allowed our employees to travel out-of-state for medical care if it is unavailable in their home state.” At Apple, both full and part-time employees receive medical insurance regardless of what country they live in. Deidre O’Brien, the company’s senior vp of retail and people, punctuated the statement, saying “our team’s health and well-being is our highest priority.”
Though the parent company of Tidal was already offering travel benefits for U.S. employees in certain states who were forced to travel over 100 miles to receive an abortion, starting July 1 Block will extend those benefits to employees residing anywhere in the U.S. The company says it also offers comprehensive reproductive health services for U.S. employees, including abortion services.
CAA, which has a large office in Nashville, already covered abortion expenses under its medical plan for employees. But in May, after the draft SCOTUS ruling leaked, the agency added a provision to cover expenses for relevant travel for any employee who needed to travel to procure an abortion, according to a CAA spokesperson.
On Friday, Live Nation announced via its social media accounts that the company will cover travel expenses for employees who need access to “women’s healthcare services” outside their home state as well as bail expenses for employees arrested for protesting peacefully. Additionally, the company is partnering with artists to support causes related to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, including matching Lizzo’s $500,000 donation to Planned Parenthood. Lastly, its Live Nation Women team is “working on initiatives to support voter registration and turnout.”
Oak View Group:
On Saturday (June 25), OVG said it would cover travel expenses for employees who require access to women’s healthcare services outside their home state. “We fully support equal access for all women to obtain the proper care that they deem appropriate for their bodies,” read a statement released by the company.
On Thursday (June 30), a memo sent by ONErpm’s U.S. HR manager Kelly Sherin to staff announced that in light of the court’s Roe v. Wade decision, the company’s healthcare benefits have been expanded to include medical travel benefits. Under the new policy, ONErpm will provide travel expense reimbursement to employees and their covered family members who must travel outside their home states to access medical procedures including abortion care, family planning and reproductive health. The company also put together a presentation to help employees understand the new ruling, its history, each state’s current status when it comes to abortion care and policy information. The company notes it has offices in states including Tenessee, Georgia and Florida that have more restrictive abortion laws.
The satellite broadcaster is providing a travel expense reimbursement benefit to employees who are forced to travel for abortion services.
Snap employees and their family members will receive a travel benefit allowance of up to $10,000 to cover transportation and lodging if they need to travel out of state for medical treatments, including abortion. The company also provides staff with free membership to a legal service called Rocket Lawyer and 25 no-cost therapy sessions per calendar year, via Lyra. “Snap remains committed to supporting access to important health care benefits for our team members, and have worked closely with our benefit providers to cover travel for team members seeking medical treatments, including abortion banned in their state of residence,” a Snap spokesperson tells Billboard. “Our goal is to ensure that all Snap team members are able to get access to the medical care they need, and when they need it.”
Sony Music Group:
Prior to the official announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision, Sony Music reaffirmed to employees that the company provides comprehensive care, including reimbursement for travel if required for access to healthcare services, including women’s reproductive healthcare and gender-affirming care.
The company shared the following message to its TikTok Comms Twitter account on Friday (June 24): “We know that the ruling deeply impacts many within our community and company. We are committed to ensuring our employees have access to a wide range of medical benefits, including family and reproductive care, no matter where they live. We are finalizing updates to our benefits to continue to provide our employees access to the medical benefits they need.”
A UTA spokesperson confirmed to Billboard that in May, after a draft of the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked, CEO Jeremy Zimmer sent a memo to staff stating that the agency “will reimburse our colleagues for travel expenses related to receiving women’s reproductive health services that are not accessible in their state of residence.” At the time, the agency also noted that “in the coming weeks” it would “be providing educational resources, programming, and opportunities for discussion” on the matter.
Walt Disney Company:
The Mouse House has a large number of employees in Florida, where a 15-week ban on abortion was already slated to go into effect on July 1 (abortions are currently legal up to the 24th week). In an internal memo released Friday, Disney said it has “processes in place so that an employee who may be unable to access care in one location has affordable coverage for receiving similar levels of care in another location.” In addition to family planning (including “pregnancy-related decisions”), the benefit covers medical situations related to cancer treatments, transplants and rare disease treatment.
Warner Music Group:
A memo sent by WMG leadership to U.S. employees on Friday obtained by Billboard states that the company believes “all women have the right to control their reproductive health, and that includes access to health services enabling them to exercise that right, no matter where they live” and is “committed to taking the appropriate steps to provide practical support to our people who need access to health services,” though no specific policy was announced. The memo also said WMG is supporting the Center For Reproductive Rights and will match employee donations to the organization through July 31.
As part of its benefits package, Wasserman says it will cover travel expenses for U.S. employees who must travel to access medical services that aren’t legally available in either their state or in a nearby state at a location within 100 miles of their home.
A WME spokesperson confirmed that on Friday, the agency provided resources and background on the abortion issue to employees and clients, including an assurance that parent company Endeavor “is committed to ensuring our employees have access to safe and legal reproductive care,” according to documents obtained by Billboard. “We have confirmed that our insurance provider, Aetna, will continue to cover abortions, and the cost of travel for out-of-state care if it is not an option in their home state will not be at the cost of the employee.”