U.S.-based employees of Tilray Brands will receive coverage should they seek an abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court of the United States overturning five-decades-long protections to access legal abortions.
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According to Marijuana Business Daily, the company will cover travel and accommodation expenses, as well as provide paid time off, for those who must travel out of state for the procedure.
‘Health and safety of our employees, patients and consumers is our top priority’
“At Tilray Brands, the health and safety of our employees, patients and consumers is our top priority,” Tilray CEO Irwin Simon noted in a tweet June 28.
“We are updating our health care benefits for all Tilray U.S. employees to include transportation expenses for employees and their covered family members to receive access to the reproductive care they need and choose,” Simon wrote.
The tweet attracted a wide range of commentary, including some support.
Out of the cannabis industry, a June 29 report from BNN Bloomberg pointed out that some Canadian companies, including the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Scotiabank, would continue to help cover procedure-related costs for U.S. workers in states where abortions are permitted.
They would also expand U.S. benefits coverage in jurisdictions where abortions are not legally available. Again, the coverage revolved around travel costs.
Reuters further reported several large U.S. law firms have promised to cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions.
Ruling strips away constitutional protection for abortion
In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned constitutionally protected protections for abortion afforded in Roe v. Wade and other related rulings.
The decision largely reflected a draft decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Roe v. Wade-related case, that was leaked this past spring and obtained by Politico.
That decision “provides an opening for conservative justices to reassess the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protected the right to abortion before fetus viability in the U.S.,” Medical News Today reported at the time.
In essence, U.S. states now have the authority to ban abortion, an option that is immediately triggered in some jurisdictions.
Per CNBC, at least 13 states have laws on the books that either ban abortion immediately or will do so soon. Immediate prohibitions reportedly took effect in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Alabama, the news outlet reported on the very day the ruling was handed down.
Majority notes U.S. constitution ‘make no reference to abortion’
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Justice Samuel Alito writes in the majority opinion.
The same day, June 24, The Associated Press reported that Facebook and Instagram had started removing posts that offer abortion pills to women who may not be able to access them.
Leamington-Ont.-headquartered Tilray Brands is a global cannabis-lifestyle and consumer packaged goods company with operations in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia and Latin America. The company’s production platform supports 20-plus brands in more than 20 countries, offering cannabis, hemp-based foods and craft beverages.
Although most Tilray employees work in Canada, roughly 300 are employed in the U.S., MJBiz reports. In an email to the publication, a company spokesperson said, “In Canada, reproductive care is included in health care benefits that the government provides.”
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