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For Workers Who Want Abortion Privacy, Staying Quiet Is Only the First Step

Keeping abortions a secret in the workplace also puts burden on employers to provide robust systems of confidentiality.

A medical assistant arranges tools for a procedure at the Whole Woman's Health abortion clinic in San Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016.

A medical assistant arranges tools for a procedure at the Whole Woman's Health abortion clinic in San Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016.

Photographer: Matthew Busch

In the two weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, a new question has emerged for workers: how to keep an abortion secret from colleagues or managers?

Companies’ new abortion-related benefits expose both employers and employees to legal and privacy risks. Workers also fear enduring judgment or gossip among their colleagues if their procedure is disclosed, particularly in states where abortion is now illegal, according to Elaine Davis, chief human resources officer of health benefits administrator HealthComp.