WASHINGTON — As more states pass legislation restricting abortion access, Citigroup says it has started to cover travel expenses for its workers who are seeking abortions.
Citi's policy change was revealed in a letter to stockholders as part of its annual proxy statement.
"In response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources," Citi said.
The new policy from the nation's fourth largest bank covers employees' expenses when traveling to seek an abortion, including plane tickets and hotels, CNN Business reported.
This comes after Texas passed a law imposing the strictest abortion limitations in the country. According to the New York Times, about 8,500 of Citigroup's 65,000 employees in the U.S. are based in Texas.
The Texas legislation makes abortions illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is typically around six weeks. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. The law's enforcement method is different than other anti-abortion bills passed in other states in that it allows almost anyone to file civil lawsuits against violators and collect damages.
Several other states have recently passed laws that heavily restrict abortion access.
To date, only Idaho’s GOP-controlled Statehouse has sent a copy-cat version of the Texas law to the state’s governor for approval. Efforts to pass similar bills in Florida, South Dakota and Arkansas have so far stalled while other anti-abortion restrictions have advanced. In Missouri, two state lawmakers proposed first-of-its-kind legislation to make it harder to go out of state for abortions.
The situation is unfolding as the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, as well as allow states to ban abortion much earlier in pregnancy. The court may even overturn the nationwide right that has existed for nearly 50 years since the Roe v. Wade decision.
Back in September, California-based public relations agency Bospar announced it would pay for its employees who live in Texas to relocate in response to the state's new abortion law. Salesforce announced it would offer similar assistance to its Texas employees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.