Leave it to a North Texas business to do things a little differently.
“Secular companies are paying the travel costs for employees to abort babies out-of-state,” Southlake-based Buffer Insurance said in a June 27 Facebook post. “Today we are announcing that Buffer will pay the costs for our employees who birth babies.”
In addition, the insurance company has pledged to offer “paid time off for all employees to have maternity and paternity leave with their newborns.” They’ll also fork up the “medical costs associated with adopting a baby.”
Texas led the charge to make abortion illegal during last year’s legislative session. Conservative state lawmakers passed the so-called “Heartbeat Act,” banning abortion after around six weeks, before many know they’re pregnant.
State by state soon began following Texas’ lead. Now, roughly two weeks after Roe was struck down, the procedure is outlawed in nine states and soon to be illegal in four more.
Abortion rights supporters have sounded the alarm that the Lone Star State is nowhere near ready for a potential spike in births. Some anti-abortion advocates even agree that Texas has a lot more work to do.
Yet others believe that companies like Buffer Insurance are ultimately on the right track.
“If this is legit and they can actually pull it off, this business model will be a game changer.” – Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, New Wave Feminists
In an emailed statement, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi urged employers to take a page from Buffer’s playbook. Republicans want to see more businesses covering childbirth costs “instead of strictly profit-driven policies designed to incentivize employees to terminate their pregnancies.
“We encourage lawmakers in the upcoming session to increase funding for pregnancy centers designed to support new mothers in need by providing health care, counseling, food, and maternity supplies, ensuring women have medical coverage up to one year postpartum, and facilitating the adoption process,” Rinaldi continued.
Meanwhile, lawmakers with the Texas Freedom Caucus recently vowed to introduce legislation that would target employers who reimburse expenses related to abortion.
On the day of the Supreme Court ruling, Dick’s Sporting Goods released a statement promising to pay up to $4,000 in travel costs. Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, founder of the pro-life organization New Wave Feminists, said in late-stage capitalism, abortion is often emphasized because companies “value profit over people.” (It's likely cheaper to cover abortion travel than it is to provide paid parental leave.)
It’s unclear how Buffer plans to pay for these expenses, and the company didn’t immediately return a request for comment. But their Facebook post said they would let inquiring businesses know how to offer the same benefits, adding that they have “ready-to-use policies” to include in employee handbooks.
Herndon-De La Rosa added that if Buffer can cover such costs while paying fair wages and adequately caring for customers, it could be “revolutionary.”
“If this is legit and they can actually pull it off,” she said, “this business model will be a game changer.”