Walmart CEO Doug McMillon speaks at the CNBC Evolve conference Nov. 19 in Los Angeles.
Jesse Grant | CNBC
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told employees Friday that the company is considering how to respond to a Supreme Court ruling that ended federal law on an abortion.
“We are working thoughtfully and diligently to determine the best way forward, guided by our desire to support our employees, all our employees,” he said in a memo sent to employees on Friday. “We will share details of our actions as soon as possible, recognizing that time is of the essence.”
He did not say what changes the company is considering, such as whether it could cover travel costs for workers who have to travel to another state where abortion is available.
The memo was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Arkansas, home of Walmart’s headquarters, is one of several states with severe restrictions or bans on abortions that went into effect after the Supreme Court ruling.
Walmart is also the country’s largest private employer. It has about 1.6 million employees across the country, including many who live in states across the Sunbelt and work with abortion restrictions such as Texas, Oklahoma and Florida.
Since the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade reversed, companies across the country had a mix of reactions. Some, including JPMorgan Chase, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Target, have announced new plans to cover employees’ travel to other states for abortions. Others, such as Kroger and Apple, said they already cover travel for medical treatments and reproductive health care. And still others remained silent.
Amazon, the second-largest private employer in the country, said in May it would pay up to $ 4,000 in travel expenses each year for non-life-threatening medical treatments, including abortions.
Walmart already covers employee travel for some medical procedures, such as certain heart surgeries, cancer treatments and organ transplants.
Walmart health benefits only cover some abortions. According to the company’s employee handbook, costs for “procedures, services, drugs and supplies related to abortions or termination of pregnancy are not covered, except when the health of the mother would be endangered if the fetus is carried to term, the fetus does not survive the birth process, or death would be imminent after birth. “
Plan B, an over-the-counter form of contraception, is only covered if the person receives a prescription. The pill, often called the “morning-after-pill”, works by preventing ovulation or preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. It can be taken after unprotected sex or when contraception fails.
Other forms of contraception are also covered by a prescription, including birth control pills, injections and intrauterine devices, or IUDs. Some anti-abortion activists are also opposed to IUDs because they can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
In Friday’s memo, McMillon said Walmart was gathering input from employees while deciding what to do. He also referred to the size and diversity of both the company and its customer base.
“We know our employees and clients hold a variety of views on the issue, and this is a sensitive issue that many of us feel strongly about,” he said. “We want you to know that we see you all. No matter what your position is on this subject, we want you to feel respected, valued and supported.”