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Dive Brief:

  • Nearly two months after Roe V. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, Walmart announced Friday that its self-insured healthcare plans now cover abortion “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of fetal viability,” according to a memo from Chief People Officer Donna Morris to employees shared with Retail Dive. 
  • Walmart also expanded its travel coverage for employees due to “how recent events are resulting in state-by-state healthcare environments,” providing support to associates and covered dependents to travel for covered services when they are not available within 100 miles of their location, per the memo. 
  • Walmart will launch a new Center of Excellence that focuses on fertility and family support, and will also add surrogacy assistance and increase financial backing for adoptions from $5,000 to $20,000.

Dive Insight:

Walmart now joins a list of brands that have expanded abortion healthcare coverage for employees since the Supreme Court’s decision on June 24. With constitutional protection of abortion access rendered nonexistent, retailers are stepping in to fill the healthcare gap.

“We’ve prepared for the upcoming annual enrollment period this fall by listening to our associates about what’s important to them, and we recognize the healthcare needs across our 1.6 million associates in the U.S. vary,” said Morris. “We strive to provide quality, competitive and accessible health coverage that supports you and your families.”

Walmart’s expanded abortion coverage is a notably less comprehensive policy than some other retailers like Sephora and Ikea, who did not include specifications for when an employee’s abortion is covered. When asked by Retail Dive if employees who were not experiencing a health risk could receive abortion coverage, the company reiterated the memo’s existing restrictions.

The retailer is headquartered in Arkansas where abortion is banned with very limited exceptions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. 

Walmart’s decision to expand abortion coverage comes as 64% of respondents in a CBS/YouGov poll taken June 24 to 25 said they believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

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