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Sen. Rubio introduces bill to prevent corporate travel deductions for abortions

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Keenan joins the Live show to break down a bill introduced by Sen. Rubio to the Supreme Court that will prevent corporate travel deductions for abortions.

Video Transcript

- On a separate note, US Senator Marco Rubio has introduced a bill that would prohibit employers from deducting expenses for their employees travel costs to obtain an abortion and for costs of child gender transition.

For more on this, let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Alexis Keenan. So explain to us what this would entail, exactly.

ALEXIS KEENAN: OK. So this bill, not that it's going to pass while there's a Democratic majority in Congress, however this is what it says it would be. It's federal legislation, and it would actually amend the US tax code.

It would block US companies from deducting, as expenses, as business expenses, either travel for employees to obtain abortion care or for child gender transition services. That one's not related to travel at all, in that respect.

So in a statement on Tuesday, Senator Rubio said this. "Our tax code should be pro-family and promote a culture of life. Instead, to often, our corporations find loopholes to subsidize the murder of unborn babies or horrific 'medical treatments' on kids." Now, Rubio says that the reason for this is that taxpayers shouldn't be footing the bill to subsidize these types of procedures.

The bill, of course, comes on the heels of a lot of states that have already pushed for legislation that limits the access of its citizens to abortion care, as well as that leak earlier in the week of the Supreme Court decision and the Dobbs case where Justice Alito's writing-- it's a draft at that-- had said that it might overturn Roe v. Wade and that protection that women have in the US to lawfully obtain an abortion.

- I mean, the tax code does all kinds of favorable things for companies that a lot of people in the country probably wouldn't approve of. I mean, we have heard from companies like Amazon, for example, saying they would subsidize travel for employees who needed to travel outside their state for an abortion if it was legally restricted in their state.

Have we had any reaction from them to this? I mean, it doesn't seem like this would deter them from making that kind of a move.

ALEXIS KEENAN: Right. And if you look at the numbers of women who are seeking out abortions, it's on the decline over the past decade. And so whether this is an expense that is of great importance to corporations and whether they would withdraw it, that would remain to be seen if all of this even plays out.

But look, we've been contacting a number of corporations to try to get some reaction to the Supreme Court leak. And it's been altogether quiet, guys. I mean, you had, yes, Citigroup. You had Starbucks, Amazon, Apple and Salesforce all saying earlier this year that they would pick up some of these travel expenses.

However, when I have gone back and said please respond to this leak and let me know if there are any changes. Are you going to expand services any further? What would be done in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned? I have not heard back after reaching out to approximately 30 female-led Fortune 500 companies.

All of them very, very quiet if not responding at all. And one of them, CVS, responded actually, CVS led by Karen Lynch. The company spokesperson said this. "We've made out-of-state care accessible and affordable for employees in states that have instituted more restrictive laws." But they are the loan company right now in terms of how much outreach--

- And they say out-of-state care which is very sort of euphemistic. They don't use the word, directly, abortion in that statement, I notice. This also, it's striking because we've had a lot of political issues come up over the past few years, and corporations have gotten more and more vocal on those political issues.

I guess this truly is the third rail so to speak. And people, these companies, don't want to go there.

ALEXIS KEENAN: And it's going to be very hard to avoid because just opening up any major newspaper in the United States following this leak, this was front and center. It's going to be so, so hard to avoid.

We should also note that Citigroup and Jane Fraser, two weeks ago at their annual meeting, she did make a comment, though. She said that although they're extending these types of travel services and reimbursements for their employees, that it's not a statement on their position on the issue.

- Of course not. Of course not. Alexis Keenan, thank you so much. Appreciate it.