On June 24, 2022, the United State Supreme Court held in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion, overruling long-standing precedent in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. This ruling does not directly impact California employers and their California based employees because abortion rights are protected under the California Constitution.
While personal reproductive decisions are protected in California, the same is not true in almost half the country. Since the Dobbs decision, trigger laws in 13 states have banned or will shortly ban abortions, and another 13 states are expected to follow suit. While trigger laws are being challenged in court, there is no question that many states will successfully ban, or severely curtail, abortions within their borders. Moreover, a number of those states would impose criminal penalties on abortion providers, pregnant people, and/or individuals or entities that “aid and abet” abortions (which could certainly include employers). The Dobbs decision and states’ efforts to ban, curtail and/or criminalize abortions have created multiple legal issues that affect employers.
So what is a California employer, with workers in some of those trigger ban states, to do? How can California employers help their 0ut-of-state employees secure reproductive health care without creating legal jeopardy?
Thankfully, Fox Rothschild’s attorneys have formed a Post-Dobbs Working Group to evaluate and track these fast-moving developments, and to provide practical advice to employers on how to navigate the post-Dobbs legal landscape.
Please see this attached Alert about the array of legal issues to consider as explained by Catherine Barbieri and Pamela Thine, including benefits considerations (and their tax implications), employment policies, privacy rights, health law, immigration, and even insurance coverage. As employers consider the right messaging for their workforces, make sure to consider the legal issues as well.