+
Democracy

Starbucks joins growing list of employers covering travel expenses for reproductive care

Starbucks, abortion, healthcare, travel
Photo by TR on Unsplash

Companies and organizations are on the side of their employees in light of stricter abortion laws.

The leak from the Supreme Court about overturning Roe v. Wade caused many people with uteruses to go into a tailspin. People began scheduling appointments for long-term birth control. Some opted for permanent birth control. Others stocked up on Plan B or called in preemptive prescriptions for the abortion pill mifepristone. In addition to making tangible plans for what the future might hold in some of these trigger states, people took to the streets to make their voices heard. Protests were held across America against the proposed overturning of Roe v. Wade, which protects people’s right to abortion under the 14th Amendment.

People are also organizing over social media. They’re helping locate nonprofits that will help cover the cost of travel from a restricted state to states where abortion will remain legal. Secret Facebook groups are popping up to help arrange transportation and accommodations for those who need access to safe reproductive care. People are coming together in ways you see in movies, all in an effort to prevent inevitable deaths that would occur if people attempt home abortions. It’s both heartwarming and heart-wrenching that this is something that needs to be done at all. It doesn’t stop with determined activists and housewives across the country, this fiery spirit has reached corporations as well.


Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Tesla have all announced they will be reimbursing employees for travel expenses incurred while seeking abortion services, and, without taking an official stance on the law itself, Salesforce has offered to help relocate any employee who wants to move out of Texas in light of Texas' Senate Bill 8. Uber and Lyft said they will cover any legal fees for drivers who are sued due to Oklahoma's new law that would allow citizens to sue someone that helped another person secure an abortion.

Starbucks is the latest large company to throw its metaphorical hat in the ring to help its employees get safe reproductive care. The coffee company isn’t new to championing its employees’ civil rights through its policies and insurance plans. Starbucks’ insurance plans have covered gender-affirming care, including gender reassignment surgery, since 2012.

The insurance plan offered through Starbucks covers the travel expenses for its employees and their dependents. The benefit is available if the employee or enrolled dependent has to travel more than 100 miles from their home to receive the appropriate reproductive care. While Starbucks hasn’t worked out all the details, the move will allow employees to have a sense of control over what happens with their bodies.

small white plane with black and gold stripes sitting on runway; propellers spinningPhoto by Chris Leipelt on Unsplash

Resources to help people get safe access to abortions are popping up in some unexpected places. In addition to larger companies and nonprofits providing assistance, a group of volunteer pilots has created an organization called Elevated Access to fly people seeking the procedure to an unrestricted state free of charge. Currently there are about 50 pilot volunteers.

If you live in a state that has a trigger law that will go into effect immediately if Roe v. Wade is overturned, you should become familiar with organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Midwesterners should know about Midwest Access Coalition, which provides travel, accommodations, food, childcare, medicine and emotional support for people traveling to, from and within the Midwest. ARC Southeast helps people in the southern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee with funds for the procedure as well as rides, accommodations and escorting to the clinic. Kentucky Health Justice Network provides procedure funding, travel support and interpretation services for Kentucky clients seeking care, no matter where they have to travel.

While the future of abortion access may seem bleak, organizations, companies and regular people are providing guideposts for people who may find themselves in a situation where these services are needed.

via Tod Perry

An artist's recreation of Jackie's napkin note.

A woman named Jackie pulled a move straight out of a romantic comedy recently, and it has the internet rallying around her potential love interest. Jackie met a guy at a bar and liked him so much that she gave him her phone number. Well, 80% of her number, that is.

The world heard about it on January 17 when Twitter user Henpecked Hal and shared a picture of the napkin with her partial phone number written on it. "My 22-year-old cousin met his dream girl at a bar and it's going pretty well,” Hal wrote in the tweet.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

Via Ridwell

Ryan Metzger and son Owen

There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A letter to the woman who told me to stay in my daughter's life after seeing my skin.

'I'm not a shiny unicorn. There are plenty of black men like me who love fatherhood.'

Doyin Richards

Dad and daughters take a walk through Disneyland.

True
Fathers Everywhere

This article originally appeared on 06.15.16


To a stranger I met at a coffee shop a few years ago who introduced me to what my life as a parent would be like:

My "welcome to black fatherhood moment" happened five years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

I doubt you'll remember it, though — so let me refresh your memory.

Keep ReadingShow less

Indie pop band Sub-Radio created a perfect introvert parody of Whitney Houston's hit song.

There are two kinds of people in this world—those who Google "nightlife" when they're exploring travel destinations and those with no desire to venture anywhere after 10:00 p.m.

Nothing against those folks who enjoy spending after-bedtime hours in crowded nightclubs, but "nightlife" just sounds like torture to me. Even during my somewhat wild college days, whenever I'd go out dancing late at night with my friends, the little voice in my head would say, "You know you'd rather be curled up on your couch in your jammies right now." And it was right. I would have.

While some introverts may genuinely look forward to a night on the town, I'd venture to guess most of us don't. By the end of the day, our social batteries are usually pretty tapped out, so a quiet evening with a movie or a book is almost always preferable to one that involves trying to make conversation over blaring music and strobe lights.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Magician changes his act so a visually impaired man can experience it for the first time

“I really want you to experience the magic right now. So let’s try something.”

@magickevinli/TikTok

“There’s always a way to experience magic.”

Pro magician Kevin Li has dazzled audiences, celebrities and even heavy hitters in the industry like Penn and Teller with his impressive sleight of hand displays.

However, Li would tell you that one of his “most memorable” performances wasn’t for a sold out crowd, but for a single person who might normally miss out on his gifts.

A video posted to Li's TikTok shows Li offering up a magic trick to a man who is vision impaired. At first, the man politely declined, saying, “I’m blind, so the magic won’t work for me."

Without missing a beat, Li replied, “I really want you to experience the magic right now. So let’s try something.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

Alabama community loves deaf Waffle House cook who taught his co-workers to use sign language

Manager Michael Clements has "never seen" an employee like Pookie White.

via Google

The Waffle House in Hope Hull, Alabama.

Even though companies with workplaces that make accommodations for disabled workers are happier and more profitable, there is still a huge discrepancy in workforce participation between deaf people and those who can hear. According to Deaf People and Employment in the United States, 53% of deaf people are in the workforce as compared to 75.8% of those who can hear.

One of the biggest hurdles to deaf people entering the workforce is discriminatory hiring practices, intentional or not.

“There are often layers of discriminatory hiring practices that make [workplace participation] statistics still hold true today,” the study says. “Such practices can range from the discriminatory language on the job ad itself, to the application & hiring process, and can even impact the promotion of deaf employees.”

Keep ReadingShow less