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How Wall Street firms from Goldman Sachs to JPMorgan are responding to the end of Roe v. Wade

·7 min read
The Supreme Court handed down a decision reversing Roe v. Wade, a nearly 50-year-old ruling guaranteeing abortion rights.
The Supreme Court handed down a decision reversing Roe v. Wade, a nearly 50-year-old ruling guaranteeing abortion rights.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • Citi, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs responded to the Supreme Court's decision on Friday.

  • Goldman said it will cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions, Insider first reported.

  • In spite of these commitments, the industry has a history of donating to trigger law sponsors.

The largest US banks are responding to the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, in some cases telling their employees that they will cover costs if they must travel to seek abortion care.

Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citi, and Wells Fargo sent emails to employees addressing the court's decision that ends the constitutional right to an abortion, according to memos viewed by Insider. JPMorgan, the largest US bank, said in a memo to employees that it would pay for travel to states where abortion is legal, CNBC reported.

Deutsche Bank, which is headquartered in Germany with operations in the US, is updating its employees' health benefits to cover travel and lodging costs for medical treatments that are 100 miles away or more from the employee, a person familiar with the matter said.

The responses reflect the way powerful firms in Wall Street's orbit, from banks and asset managers to influential consulting firms, are under pressure to respond to societal issues, like racial inequity and LGBTQ rights.

And in an era of stakeholder capitalism, these firms walk a fine line, risking alienating shareholders, employees, and clients — and losing their business — if they appear to support one cause over another.

The financial services industry has also played a role in advancing anti-abortion laws. Banks such as JPMorgan and Citi have long track records of donating to lawmakers who sponsored so-called trigger laws. These laws automatically criminalize abortion in 13 states, including Texas and Tennessee, now that Roe has been overturned.

Some firms have stayed mum on the issue. Spokespeople for Charles Schwab, which is headquartered in Westlake, Texas, and the wealth management giant UBS, which is based in Switzerland with operations across the US, did not return requests for comment.

Here are how firms are responding, listed in alphabetical order.

Bank of America

Bank of America said in an email to employees on Friday that it would expand coverage for US healthcare-related travel starting on July 1, according to a copy of the memo Insider reviewed.

"For employees and their dependents who are enrolled in our US self-insured health plans, we are expanding the list of medical treatments that are eligible for travel expense reimbursement," the memo said, expanding this coverage to reproductive healthcare including abortion, cancer treatment, and hospital admissions for mental health conditions.

BlackRock

BlackRock's healthcare plan will reimburse US employees for travel expenses associated with reproductive services starting on July 1, as it has done for other specialized care such as transplants and cancer treatment, according to a Yahoo Finance report late Monday that cited a memo to employees. A spokesperson declined to comment.

"Through company-sponsored health insurance, we have long provided reproductive health care services, including coverage for birth control and abortion or miscarriage care," the asset management firm's global head of human resources Manish Mehta wrote in the email that Yahoo Finance viewed.

BNY Mellon

A spokesperson for the New York-based money manager and custodian said late Monday that the firm has "expanded the travel benefits under our medical plan to apply to expenses associated with obtaining covered health services from in-network providers that are not available within the member's state of residence."

Citi

Sara Wechter, Citi's head of human resources, sent a memo to employees on Friday afternoon addressing the Supreme Court's decision, according to a memo Insider viewed.

"While we are still assessing the impact of the Supreme Court decision and are aware that some states may enact new legislation regarding reproductive rights, we will continue to provide benefits that support our colleagues' family planning choices wherever we are legally permitted to do so," Wechter said.

Wechter referred to the commitment the bank made in March to cover the costs of staff traveling to receive abortion care. At the time, it was the only such commitment on Wall Street.

Deutsche Bank

The German bank is updating health benefits to cover travel and lodging costs for medical treatments that are 100 miles away or more, a person familiar with the matter told Insider.

This applies to all healthcare treatments, including abortion care. The update is not effective immediately, but it is being rolled out imminently, the person said.

Evercore

The investment bank has updated its policy so it will reimburse employees enrolled in the firm's medical plans if they incur travel and lodging expenses to access critical medical care such as seeking an abortion, a spokesperson for the firm said on June 29.

Goldman Sachs

The New York-based bank said in an internal memo that it would reimburse costs for employees to travel out of state to seek an abortion, Insider first reported.

"We have extended our healthcare travel reimbursement policies to include all medical procedures, treatments and evaluations, including abortion services and gender-affirming care where a provider is not available in proximity to where our people live," Bentley de Beyer, the firm's global head of human capital management, wrote in the memo to staff on Friday afternoon.

Later on Friday evening, Goldman CEO David Solomon released a statement of his own backing up the firm's pledge to cover employees' costs tied to abortion-related travel.

"This morning, the US Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, holding that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to choose to have an abortion," Solomon wrote in the statement posted to the company intranet which was seen by Insider. "Millions of women are right now grappling with a new legal reality. I know many of you are deeply upset, and I stand with you."

The bank's "top priorities are the health and wellbeing of our people and their families," he added.

Invesco

The Atlanta-based asset management firm expanded coverage in its medical plans to provide reimbursement for employees' travel expenses if they — or the employee's covered dependents — are unable to receive covered medical services such as abortion care within 100 miles of their home, a spokesperson said on June 30.

Jefferies

Jefferies Financial Group told staffers on Monday that it will pay for the costs of abortion-related travel in a memo first reported by Insider.

"We have thought deeply these past few days about how to respond to the recent Supreme Court decision regarding women's rights. Jefferies will, of course, join other businesses around the US that will cover any employee-partners' costs should she decide to terminate a pregnancy and be forced to do so in a state other than the one in which she lives," CEO Richard Handler and President Brian Friedman wrote.

The investment bank's two top leaders added that they will independently donate a combined $1 million to "causes that champion women's rights." Read the full memo here.

JPMorgan

The bank told employees that it would pay for travel to states that allow legal abortions, according to a memo CNBC viewed.

Morgan Stanley

Starting on July 1, Morgan Stanley will incorporate coverage for travel costs tied to pregnancy care into its employee benefits offerings, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing a person familiar with the company policy.

Wells Fargo

The third-largest US bank has updated its benefits for US employees so that starting on July 1, it will reimburse employees for transportation and lodging costs related to seeking abortion care, the bank said in a memo to employees on June 27 that Insider viewed.

Wells Fargo said that if an employee is enrolled in a medical plan through the bank and healthcare services they are seeking are unavailable within 50 miles of the employee's home, Wells Fargo will reimburse for such costs for the employee and a companion traveling with them.

This story was published on June 24 and has been updated to reflect new statements. 

Do you work for a financial services firm? How is your company responding to the reversal of Roe v. Wade? Contact these reporters. Rebecca Ungarino can be reached at rungarino@insider.com. Reed Alexander can be reached at ralexander@insider.com. Hayley Cuccinello can be reached out hcuccinello@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider