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Starbucks Joins Other Retailers in Paying for Abortion and Gender-Affirming Surgery Travel

Starbucks will offer reimbursement for eligible travel expenses for workers enrolled in its healthcare insurance program who seek access to gender-affirming procedures not available within 100 miles of their home. Dependents of eligible Starbucks employees also can receive compensation.

The announcement follows a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court showing a conservative majority of justices reportedly supporting overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, according to Politico. The likely impact of the reversal would be legislation restricting or outlawing abortion in multiple states. Additionally, more than 154 anti-trans bills have been introduced in state legislatures as of March 2022, according to NBC News.

Starbucks isn’t the only retailer supporting its employees’ ability to receive medical treatment in the face of recent and upcoming restrictions. Amazon will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for non-life-threatening medical treatments including abortions, according to a message to employees seen by Reuters. Reuters also reported that Microsoft would expand its abortion and gender-affirming care services for U.S. employees to include travel expense assistance.

Starbucks’ new reimbursement options join a list of benefits that the retailer has added to help set it apart from other employers. Other healthcare options offered by Starbucks include:

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  • Access to 20 sessions a year with a mental health therapist or coach through Lyra Health at no cost, as well as free access to the Headspace app;
  • A wide array of health insurance options for transgender employees beyond gender reassignment surgery including breast reduction or augmentation surgery, facial feminization, hair transplants and more;
  • Free consultations with Starbucks Advocates, healthcare coverage experts who can help associates navigate complex health coverage questions; and
  • The Starbucks Family Expansion Reimbursement program, which assists eligible partners with certain costs of growing their families through adoption, surrogacy or fertility treatments.

“We have a long history of providing comprehensive benefits for all part- and full-time partners, including offering affordable healthcare coverage that provides Starbucks partners more choice, cost savings opportunities and personalized support to help them easily and successfully select the best health care plan for their needs,” said Starbucks in a statement. “We consistently listen to and collaborate with our partners to evolve our benefits based on their different benefits needs and preferences — and we will always work to ensure that our partners have access to quality healthcare and the support services they need.”

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