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These Oregon companies will pay for staff to travel for abortion

Columbia Sportswear, Intel and Salt & Straw are a handful of the companies that will help employees get access to abortion in states where it’s banned.

PORTLAND, Ore. — After the Supreme Court reversed its stance on Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that gave people the right to have an abortion, several major Oregon companies have made it clear their employees will still have access in states where abortion is banned.  

These companies have sent out statements and posted on social media, doubling down on their commitment to employees’ access to reproductive health care.

Roughly half the states in the country, where more than 300,000 abortions were performed last year, are poised to ban or restrict abortion.

Columbia Sportswear sent a letter to employees on Friday, saying in part, “Should an employee or covered individual need immediate services, our goal is to provide access to health care that existed before today’s Supreme Court decision.”

RELATED: What the Roe V. Wade reversal means for Oregon and Washington

Intel, Oregon’s largest private employer, also sent out a statement saying the company would provide resources for people needing to travel for safe and timely health care.

Portland ice cream chain Salt & Straw did the same.

“Our founder Kim and I had a conversation about the importance of really just showing up for our team members. We want them to know that their care is our number one priority,” said Todd Woodruff, chief people officer for Salt & Straw.

Woodruff said in addition to the company’s locations in Oregon and California, it has about 120 employees in Florida and a handful of employees in Texas and North Dakota. In Florida, abortion will be restricted. It’ll be banned in Texas and North Dakota.

“As an organization, we want to make sure that all of our team members have the ability to go to a safe place for that kind of care,” Woodruff added. 

RELATED: ‘It’s super scary’: Oregon advocates say Roe reversal will fall heavily on low-income, minority women

On LinkedIn, KEEN Footwear, Adidas, which has its North America headquarters in Portland, and Wyld, a cannabis edibles company out of Clackamas, also posted messages indicating all travel expenses would be covered should an employee need to go a state where abortion is legal. Posts from Adidas and Wyld said the companies would cover lodging as well.

Wieden + Kennedy, an international advertising agency out of Portland, also posted on LinkedIn saying it would do the same. A spokesperson said the company actually announced that it would cover travel-related costs when the Supreme Court’s draft opinion was leaked in early May.

Some companies have specified how much money employees will get in order to travel for an abortion. In some cases, it’s thousands of dollars. Other companies are still trying to iron out the details.

Companies are also trying to figure out how to keep employees’ health information private. 

A spokesperson for Columbia Sportswear said the company could potentially have insurance handle abortion-related requests or the Employee Assistance Program might be utilized, which is already confidential.

Woodruff with Salt & Straw said the process would likely be handled by a human resources representative who is trained and prepared to manage the request in a supportive and confidential way.

“In short, the Team Member’s manager will not be given any detail regarding the specifics of their employee’s condition or reason for treatment. They will only be given details of return to work and any accommodations necessary for an employee to return to work, as is already the practice for handling healthcare accommodations,” Woodruff wrote in an email. “Further, medical information is always kept separate from employee files preventing management to have any access to protected information.”

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