Texas attorney general wants to prosecute companies that help women access abortions

·2 min read

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton says he is planning to prosecute corporations that pay for employees to travel interstate to access abortion care.

“It’s actually a new concept for us — these corporations deciding to pay for people to go get their abortions,” Mr Paxton said in an interview with NewsNation.

He said the penalties for businesses that support their employees having abortions could be in excess of $100,000.

“We’re looking at that literally as we speak,” he said.

Dozens of American companies including Disney, Apple, JP Morgan Chase, Adidas and Airbnb are guaranteeing abortion benefits for their employees in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court voting to overturn Roe v Wade.

University of Illinois law professor Robin Fretwell Wilson told Reuters this week it was only a matter of time before those companies face lawsuits from states that have imposed bans on facilitating abortions.

“If you can sue me as a person for carrying your daughter across state lines, you can sue Amazon for paying for it,” Professor Wilson said.

Lawmakers in Texas have threatened Citigroup and Lyft over their pledge to pay workers to access abortions.

Last month, Republican state representative Briscoe Cain claimed in a letter to Citigroup’s chief executive Jane Fraser it was a “grotesque abuse” of her fiduciary duty.

On 24 June, the Supreme Court’s six conservative justices ruled in favour of a Mississippi law that outlaws abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization has resulted in the overturning of key precedents established by the 1973 decision in Roe v Wade, as well as an affirming decision in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v Casey.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wants to impose fines on companies that help staff access abortion care (AFP via Getty Images)
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wants to impose fines on companies that help staff access abortion care (AFP via Getty Images)

Corporate heavyweights such as Johnson & Johnson, Tesla and Nike announced last month that they would reimburse travel expenses for workers seeking an abortion who can’t access services in their home state.

E-commerce giant Amazon said it will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses each year for non-life threatening medical treatments including abortions.

Meanwhile, clothing company Levi Strauss & Co announced it will add reimbursement for healthcare-related travel expenses to its current benefits plan. Microsoft also said it will extend its abortion and gender affirming care services for employees to include travel expense assistance.