Following the ruling of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and subsequent reversal of Roe v. Wade, employers have begun to re-strategize how to help their employees legally access abortions. Several U.S. companies, including Amazon, Meta, Apple, and Microsoft, have released statements that they will cover transportation costs to other states for employees seeking an abortion.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) regulates the administration of employee benefit plans. ERISA aims to protect the interest of employee-beneficiaries by setting minimum standards for employee benefit plans and voluntarily established pensions. The Act’s preemption clause works to prevent states from regulating these same plans. Initially, a state statute was considered to violate the preemption clause when it possessed, “a connection with, or reference to, covered employee benefit plans.” A few years later the standard was modified, states were considered to have violated ERISA preemption if the state, “mandates employee benefit structures or their administration.”