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No Paper Trail: How Companies Are Delivering Abortion-Related Benefits

Companies’ new benefits for travel expenses around pregnancy terminations are creating concerns over legal and privacy risks, but their human resource departments are finding workarounds.

Abortion rights demonstrators hold signs while walking through Times Square during a protest in New York, US, on Friday, June 24, 2022. A deeply divided US Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and wiped out the constitutional right to abortion, issuing a historic ruling likely to render the procedure largely illegal in half the country.
Abortion rights demonstrators hold signs while walking through Times Square during a protest in New York, US, on Friday, June 24, 2022. A deeply divided US Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and wiped out the constitutional right to abortion, issuing a historic ruling likely to render the procedure largely illegal in half the country.Photographer: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg

As companies from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Starbucks Corp. pledge to fund employees’ abortion-related travel costs, human resource professionals scrambling to nail down the details are finding that less paper trail is better. 

While documenting corporate processes is a key function of most HR teams, applying it to abortion benefits could expose companies to legal liability and privacy violation concerns. One potential consequence is that firms are forced by legal action to disclose details of employees who have sought these services, according to Amy Spurling, chief executive of Compt, a platform for stipend perks.