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Stephen L. Carter

Can Companies Still Cover Abortion Travel Costs?

After the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and trigger laws banning abortion in 13 states, the legality of covering employees’ costs traveling out of state will come into question.

A watershed moment.

A watershed moment.

Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images North America

With Roe v. Wade no longer the law of the land, women seeking abortions will soon start traveling. Could a state punish an employer for covering their costs? The issue is likely to arise: A number of major corporations have come forward with offers to pay the expenses of employees who leave the state to end their pregnancies, and some state legislators are threatening to punish them.

In a recent column, I explained why I’m skeptical about both the wisdom and constitutionality of state laws that would criminalize obtaining an abortion outside the state. (Based on his separate concurrence, Justice Brett Kavanaugh agrees.) But if the travel is paid for by an in-state actor — such as an employer — the case might come out differently.