In 2022, Target announced it would cover the travel expenses of employees who live in pro-life states and who choose to travel out of state for an abortion. According to CNBC, the policy took effect on July 1, 2022, a week after Roe v. Wade was overturned, allowing states to determine their own laws on abortion.
While abortion advocates celebrated the hugely popular chain store’s decision as ‘pro-woman,’ pro-abortion policies like Target’s are about the company’s bottom line.
As made evident by a documentary video from Sidewalk Advocates for Life, abortion-friendly employee policies, such as Target’s, which pay for women to travel to undergo abortions — including airfare, hotel, and dining expenses — actually push women into abortions they may not want, and make it much more difficult for them to exercise their right to change their minds and keep their babies.
For example, New Mexico has become an abortion hub in the United States, as it shares a border with Texas — a state that protects most preborn children from abortion. Since the fall of Roe, abortion businesses have been relocating to New Mexico to set up shop, since there are no laws regarding abortion in the state, and the governor signed a law prohibiting local public bodies from establishing ordinances to protect preborn children.
Mark Cavaliere, executive director of the Southwest Coalition for Life in New Mexico, explained in the documentary that, since the overturning of Roe, “there’s a different level of desperation” among the women he meets who are seeking out abortion.
“The women that we’re seeing have invested so much,” he explained. “Often times they have gotten a plane ticket and they’ve flown across the state. They’ve gotten hotel rooms and rented rental cars, and by the time they show up at the abortion facility, they say they’ve got to catch a plane back in a few hours.”
Dominique Davis, president and CEO of Project Defending Life, a pregnancy center in New Mexico, further explained, “By the time [women] get here, they’re even more committed to obtaining an abortion because the abortion facilities, the referral centers in Texas have already given them a gift card. [The women] feel more pressured to obtain the abortion because it’s already been paid for.”
Lauren Muzkya, president and CEO of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, calls it the “psychology of influence, commitment, and consistency.”
When Target — or any employer — has paid the expenses of an employee who has said she wants an abortion, that woman may feel she must follow through with the abortion, even if she were to change her mind. If she did change her mind and choose life after arriving at the out-of-state abortion facility, then she would have cost her employer potentially hundreds to thousands of dollars. She may fear serious repercussions, including the loss of her job, benefits, and maternity leave.
Abortion as a cheap way out
According to Fairy Godboss, Target offers eight weeks of paid maternity leave for both salaried and hourly employees. That policy began on June 30, 2019, three years prior to Target deciding to cover the travel expenses for abortion, and it was a significant improvement from the company’s previous two weeks of paid parental leave. The new policy allows any employee to take four weeks of paid time off each year to care for a newborn or sick family member, and new mothers can take up to eight weeks of paid maternity leave.
While Target’s maternity leave isn’t the best in the nation — Netflix and other companies offer up to 52 weeks of paid maternity leave (yes, one year) — it would cost the company a decent amount of money to cover eight weeks of paid maternity leave per new mother. Those costs — including eight weeks of salary and taxes for a non-working employee who may need to be temporarily replaced by a different employee — would be eliminated with one out-of-state trip for an abortion.
For an already abortion-vulnerable woman — 64% of women who have had abortions say they faced pressure to do so — the added pressure of having their employer pay for their abortion-related expenses could be too much to overcome — ultimately forcing women into abortions they don’t want. This can lead to an increased risk of emotional trauma from the abortion, as a Norway study found that women coerced into abortion were the group most likely to suffer post-abortion trauma in the two years following the abortion.
Editor’s Note: Tell Target to stop targeting innocent children in the womb by signing this petition.