A Texas congressman has asked four entertainment and social media companies to explain why they emphasize paying travel and other expenses for out-of-state abortions instead of their existing paid family leave policies for employees.
Women “should not feel compelled to seek an abortion instead of taking time to have their child, especially since women are already having fewer children than they want,” Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas.
Cloud asked for staff announcements by Wednesday in his letters to Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., Alphabet Inc. (the parent organization for Google) and Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram).
Cloud, the ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s economic and consumer policy subcommittee, wrote that he is concerned that Disney and the other three companies are pressuring female employees to have abortions on site. to offer alternatives.
On June 24, the same day the Supreme Court issued its decision in the abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, each of the four companies announced that they would pay the travel and procedure costs of employees seeking abortions across borders. state.
Cloud noted that Disney and Meta/Facebook offered their employees travel reimbursements for “family planning,” “pregnancy-related care,” and “reproductive services” overseas.
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. told NBC News that the company will expand “healthcare benefit options to cover transportation costs for employees and their covered family members who must travel to have an abortion.”
Fiona Cicconi, Google’s chief people officer, emailed staff to announce a similar extension of benefits, adding that employees can “apply for relocation without reason and those overseeing this process will be aware of the situation.”
Those four companies failed to mention their existing paid family leave policies, Cloud wrote in the letter. They gave no indication they would support “women who choose to carry their pregnancies to term and raise their children,” the Texas Republican said.
The Daily Signal sought comment from the four companies Friday afternoon. Warner Bros./Discovery declined to comment, and Meta, Google and Disney did not respond by press time.
“Women have historically faced discrimination for becoming pregnant because of the number of days women will be absent from the workforce due to the birth and care of their children,” Cloud wrote to the companies.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act—passed in 1978 as an amendment to the Civil Rights Act—prohibits this type of pregnancy-based discrimination, he argued.
Cloud suggested that Disney, Warner Brothers Discovery, Google, Meta and others may have violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act with the actions they took after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
By encouraging their employees to seek abortions, these companies discouraged women from other alternatives, such as requesting family leave and taking additional leave, he said.
In a time of “high inflation, high gas prices and shortages of baby formula,” Cloud wrote to the four companies, “it is imperative that women feel supported in their decision to balance their family with Their job”.
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