Banking giant Citigroup on Thursday said it will provide employees who live in states with restrictive reproductive health care laws with travel benefits to provide access to abortion clinics across the nation.
“In response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources,” the global bank said in a letter to stockholders in its annual proxy statement.
The new policy covers the employees’ expenses while traveling to seek an abortion, such as plane tickets and hotels, CNN Business reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
The move has drawn criticism from Republican lawmakers in Texas, which currently has one of the strictest abortion bans in the country. The ban, which took effect in September, restricts access to abortion after about six weeks into pregnancy, when many women do not even know they’re pregnant.
“Republicans should avoid entrusting their finances with Citibank and other companies that are hostile to them and their values,” Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi told CBS News. “Citigroup’s decision to finance the murder of unborn children with a heartbeat is appalling, but not surprising, considering [its] past adoption of far-left causes.”
The Texas law also includes a provision that authorizes citizens to file private lawsuits against those who perform, aid or abet an abortion, with the reward for a successful lawsuit being at least $10,000.
Multiple other states, such as Idaho, have also recently passed laws that restrict abortions.
Citigroup is one of the first mega-corporations to add travel expenses to their reproductive benefits. The new provision was made under CEO Jane Fraser, who was the first woman to take over a major Wall Street bank.