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Walmart is expanding abortion coverage for employees

An employee gathers shopping carts at Walmart on July 22, 2020 in Burbank, California. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN) — Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, is expanding travel and abortion coverage for its US employees effective immediately.

The company’s healthcare plans will now cover abortion under certain circumstances: when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of fetal viability, according to an internal memo sent Friday by Donna Morris, Walmart’s Chief People Officer.

Walmart, which has 1.6 million employees in the US, will also expand travel coverage to access services covered by its healthcare plans, including abortion, when they are not legally available within 100 miles of their location. That benefit is available for workers and any family members covered on their health plans.

Morris said the company made the changes after “listening to our associates about what’s important to them,” adding that “we strive to provide quality, competitive and accessible health coverage that supports you and your families.”

The company did not clarify whether the new benefits would be available to all 1.6 million US employees or only some workers. Many of Walmart’s staff work part-time and are not eligible for all benefits.

Walmart’s announcement comes almost two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion. The company is headquartered in Arkansas, where restrictive abortion laws have already gone into effect after Roe was overturned.

Following the landmark decision, several corporate giants including Microsoft, Apple, Meta and Disney pledged to provide support and financial assistance for employees — and, in some cases, their dependents — who are seeking abortion services in states that outlaw the procedure.

Additionally, in a significant expansion of benefits, Walmart is launching coverage for fertility services like in-vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI) and egg cryopreservation. It’s also adding benefits for surrogacy and increasing adoption support fourfold to $20,000.