Starbucks to cover employees’ travel expenses for abortions, gender-affirming surgeries

Starbucks coffee shop logo seen at one of their stores.Stephen Zenner | LightRocket | Getty ImagesStarbucks said Monday it will start covering eligible travel expenses for employees seeking abortions or gender-affirming procedures.The coffee chain joins Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Salesforce in offering to reimburse workers for travel costs related to abortions following the leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that ensured the right to undergo the procedure. Other large companies, like Walmart and Disney, have overwhelmingly chosen to stay silent on the draft opinion.Starbucks has a reputation for championing liberal causes, like vocally supporting same-sex marriage and hiring refugees. That also extends to transgender rights. Its health insurance has covered gender reassignment surgery since 2012 and a wider array of gender-affirming procedures, like hair transplants or breast reduction, since 2018.As of mid-March, 154 anti-trans bills have been introduced in state legislatures, seeking to limit access to health care, sports, bathrooms and education, according to NBC News.Employees enrolled in Starbucks’ insurance plan and seeking access to abortion or gender-affirming procedures will be eligible for reimbursement of travel costs if those services aren’t available within 100 miles of their home. The benefit will also extend to any dependents enrolled in Starbucks health care.A representative for Starbucks said the company is still working on additional details, such as when the benefit kicks in. The company has 240,000 U.S. employees.

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