Yahoo Finance's Allie Garfinkle discusses why companies are beginning to offer travel benefits for gender-affirming care and LGBTQ health care as well as reproductive care.
JULIE HYMAN: As we've heard, many companies are now offering travel and compensation plans for employees seeking out abortion care, following the Roe v. Wade ruling. Now some companies are going a step further. They're offering gender affirming care to employees as well. Yahoo Finance's Allie Garfinkle following the story for us. So why-- it's interesting that these would come together, right? So what's going on here?
ALLIE GARFINKLE: Yeah, you know, it's-- I asked that question, too. And it sounds like it's a combination of foresight and practicality, Julie. The Dobbs decision came out on Friday. And as much as it altered the landscape for women's reproductive rights, it also has completely shifted the conversation about LGBTQ rights. Experts I was talking to say that the Dobbs decision does threaten gay marriage and trans rights.
So, on one hand, you have companies like Microsoft and Netflix preparing for the worst, frankly, wanting to cover everything off the cuff. Those two companies in particular have explicitly said that they want to offer gender affirming care, in addition to reproductive care.
So I think there are a couple of other things happening. The first is that there's been a flood of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year in state legislatures, about 300. And dozens of these bills have targeted access to gender affirming medical care. And on the other hand, we also have a moment where tech companies are really worried about retaining talent. And they want to present to their employees as supportive in a moment where talent across the industry is still in a massive reshuffle.
BRAD SMITH: And it's really kind of stemming from what Justice Clarence Thomas had to say in some of the other rulings that should be revisited as well. And so with all of that in mind, what are the experts saying about this approach?
ALLIE GARFINKLE: For the most part, they're saying it's pretty smart. It does feel a little broad off the cuff, Brad. But it's not like they're talking about 1,000 things is one-- is the point one of the experts made to me. She was saying, we're talking about very particular types of medical care that are under duress in some states. And there continues to be an enormous bias in LGBTQ bias in health services anyway.
And again, I want to hit the talent piece again. Tech companies are in such a tough spot right now, in more ways than one. The cultural and legal divide in this country is creating a lot of difficulties for companies that want to operate nationally. And the exact thing the expert said to me is, if they want to retain their talent, they've got to do something.
JULIE HYMAN: It's really interesting because anecdotally, too, we're hearing about companies that are on the other side politically, right? And I think even Meta said it was limiting discussion among employees about the decision. But then there are some smaller startups as well, where the founders have been very outspoken, sort of on the more right leaning side of the equation. So I wonder how that is all going to play out in terms of talent.
ALLIE GARFINKLE: It'll be really interesting, Julie. I think there is going-- one of the things that I have been sort of tracking is, I think there's going to be a distinction, perhaps, between what companies say and what they do, right? You have Meta that, for example, has said we can't talk about Roe v. Wade in our company chat, whereas you have companies like Amazon that have come out and said, yes, absolutely, we want to offer gender affirming care. We want to offer abortion care.
But the reality is, there's also a data privacy issue at play, too. So for some of these companies, we'll see what they actually do. Even if they're offering reproductive care, trans care, they still may hand over data that actually contradicts that belief. So we'll see.
JULIE HYMAN: Well, and they also might make donations that contradict that, which is--
ALLIE GARFINKLE: Exactly.
JULIE HYMAN: --what we talked about as well.