One of the beautiful aspects of the free market is its ability to reroute around government restrictions. No, I don’t mean in a black market, illegal sense, albeit, in some circumstances, that, too. I mean, companies stepping in where the government is failing, and worse, actively making the lives of millions of women worse, such as in the United States Supreme Court’s decision overturning nearly 50 years of Roe precedent, effectively ending the U.S. Constitution’s protection of abortion.
Yesterday, I presented one workaround solution from a Cato Institute white paper talking about the imperative to end the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations and restrictions requiring a prescription for oral contraceptives, and instead, allow oral contraceptives over-the-counter.
Today, after seeing what many companies are doing, I now see that as another workaround solution. So, if you’re not familiar, companies are coming out and saying that travel expenses related to abortion are now part of their medical coverage for their employees. This is important with respect to women in states where abortion is and/or will be outlawed and/or severely restricted because now, those women must travel inordinate amounts to the nearest abortion clinic.
In fact, I was getting curious about where the closest abortion clinic from Ohio, where I live, would be after Ohio’s abortion ban goes into effect, which it did late last night (ridiculously called the “heartbeat bill”). I’m not a geography guy, but off the top of my head, I’m thinking, “Nope to Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee.” I assumed Pennsylvania also was a no-go. Again, I’m not exactly well-versed in these matters. For example, I actually learned today that Planned Parenthood v. Casey originated in Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf, is a Democrat, and has pledged abortion access in the state “will remain legal and safe as long as I am governor.”
But of course, he’s only governor until January when he’s term-limited out of office, and there is a Republican-controlled state legislator that’s been agitating for a ban. Politico has the race as “lean Democrat,” so, we shall see.
Pennsylvania remains an option, but think about it this way. Many of the abortion clinics in the state seems to be concentrated in Pittsburgh, with a few in northern Pennsylvania. If you live in Cleveland, Ohio, the latter option is nearly a 90-minute drive, which isn’t too shabby. But what if you live in the southern and/or western part of Ohio? Dayton to Meadville, Pennsylvania (where one of the abortion clinics is located) is nearly four and a half hours.
Or maybe you go to Illinois, where it is still legal. Cincinnati to Fairview Heights, Illinois is five hours! Michigan, maybe? They have a weird situation, though, where the legislature is agitating to make effective a 1931 state law after Roe was overturned to make abortion illegal.
The point being, there are options, but they’re not exactly good options, just the bets of bad options, and it’s weird to even think about Googling “abortion clinics near [insert Ohio] city.” When I was a vending machine attendant, I used to drive past the abortion clinic, a Planned Parenthood location, in downtown Cincinnati regularly (with anti-abortion protesters perpetually posted on the sidewalk). What happens to that place now? Obviously, I assume at least, they do more than just abortions, but still.
If a woman does have to travel to receive an abortion, the following companies that I know of so far are stepping up to support her:
- JPMorgan Chase
- Levi Strauss & Co.
- Comcast-NBC Universal
- Meta (Facebook)
- Warner Bros Discovery
- Kroger (my regional grocery chain)
- Goldman Sachs
- DICK’s Sporting Goods
Here is the DICK’s statement where they pledge up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement:
Some of these companies you would expect to do this, so hopefully we see some of the companies that reach far more people, especially in poorer communities, also step up. I’m thinking of McDonald’s and Walmart specifically.
Also, if you’re looking to donate directly to abortion funds, here is a helpful list of such funds in every state.