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Kudos to Walmart for Covering Abortions

It was reported today that the nation's largest employer, Walmart, is immediately expanding its employee health-care plans to cover more situations where staff members might seek an abortion. Does this change your opinion of the company?

Walmart's action makes it the latest firm to take such action in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The company, which has 1.6 million employees in the U.S., said it will cover abortions “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest.” Walmart also will pay for the procedure in the event of miscarriage, a lack of fetal viability or an ectopic pregnancy, when a fetus implants outside the uterus.

But the company is going even further, snubbing its nose at states that attempt to prevent residents from traveling elsewhere for reproductive healthcare. Walmart said it will provide “travel support” for employees and dependents if they require access to a health service covered by Walmart’s insurance plan but there is no viable provider within 100 miles of their location.

Walmart, of course, is based in Arkansas where a trigger ban open abortions, except when the life of the mother is at risk, took effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. The company operates more than 2,000 stores in states that have either banned abortion or imposed near-total restrictions on the procedure. Some 53 percent of Walmart's employees in the U.S. are women.

The Washington Post reported that "other companies that have offered support to employees seeking to terminate a pregnancy include Disney, which employs about 80,000 people in Florida, a state with a near-total ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Dick’s Sporting Goods has said it will reimburse employees up to $4,000 in travel expenses to the nearest location where abortion is legal. Lyft and JPMorgan, as well as Walmart competitors Target and CVS, have made similar moves."

Walmart's decision might be seen as surprising as it and the Walton family have long supported conservative causes and politicians, donating far more to Republicans than Democrats in many electoral cycles before 2008.

But in recent years that has changed as the company has expanded its contributions to include more liberal and moderate politicians, including Democrats. The Post reported that in 2020, Walmart gave comparable sums to Republican and Democratic politicians and the family actually contributed more to Democratic congressional candidates.

The Post reported that this year’s donations from individual family members to GOP politicians include $17,400 to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who supports abortion rights and recently finished ahead of a candidate backed by former president Donald Trump in a Senate primary. They have also given $250,000 to the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group that right-wingers despise.

Moreover, Walmart was one of many companies that stopped donations to lawmakers who voted against President Biden's election certification following the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol.

What do you think about Walmart's action on abortions? Should more companies follow suit?

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