Disney, Universal will pay for employee travel for abortions

In response to the Supreme Court ruling striking down landmark abortion rights law Roe v. Wade on Friday, Disney issued an internal memo to employees stating that the company would cover travel costs for all eligible employees seeking an abortion.

According to an employee memo obtained by news outlets including Reuters, Variety Magazine and Puck News, Disney human resource executives said the company’s travel benefit would cover “family planning (including pregnancy-related decisions)” but did not explicitly refer to abortion.

A Disney spokesperson who would not be identified confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel on Friday afternoon that a copy of the memo cited by news outlets and circulating on social media was authentic. The medical policy covers all eligible U.S. employees, including those working at Disney’s theme parks and resorts, according to the company.

Disney’s support of abortion access could stoke its ongoing conflict with Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said Friday that “every life counts” and Florida would expand and defend its anti-abortion policies.

Disney has drawn DeSantis’ ire in recent months by speaking out against Florida’s so-called “don’t say gay” law, which led to DeSantis signing laws to dissolve Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and void the company’s exemption under social media censorship legislation.

Disney, which employs around 70,000 people in Florida at Walt Disney World alone, issued the memo in response to the potential impact the ruling might have on employees and their families and their questions that could arise as a result, according to a copy of the memo shared by Matthew Belloni with Puck News.

“[F]amily planning decisions are deeply personal,” it read. “Please know that our company remains committed to removing barriers and providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care for all of our employees, cast members and their families, including family planning and reproductive care, no matter where they live.”

The letter was signed by the Walt Disney Co.’s Chief Human Resources Officer Paul Richardson and Pascale Thomas, vice president of enterprise benefits and well-being.

Disney also offers “family-building benefits,” including adoption and surrogacy assistance, and covers up to $75,000 in fertility services for eligible families, a public health care portal showed.

Comcast, which owns Universal’s theme parks, offers NBCUniversal employees a benefit that covers travel for medical procedures, Variety magazine reported. The publication did not offer further details on the benefit, and spokespeople for Comcast and Universal Orlando did not immediately respond to questions.

About half of U.S. states are expected to ban abortion after Friday’s ruling. In Florida, abortion access could soon constrict further.

[email protected] and @katievrice on Twitter