Hundreds of Google employees are calling on the company to expand its abortion care benefits to contract workers and strengthen privacy protections for Google users who search for abortion information online.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, had agreed to pay travel and other health care expenses for female employees seeking out-of-state abortions and to help some female workers relocate after the US Supreme Court ruled. .repeal the constitutional right to abortion. The June decision that overturned Roe v. Wade Act of 1973 paved the way for severe restrictions or bans on abortion in nearly half of US states.
Benefits for abortion services offered by Google and other tech companies don’t cover the contract workforce, which is common in the tech industry, and are often paid less and have fewer benefits than full-time employees.
A letter signed by more than 650 employees and sent this week to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and other Alphabet executives calls for contractors to be included in those benefits.
It also requires the company to cease any political donations or lobbying of politicians or organizations “responsible for appointing the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade and continue to violate other human rights issues related to voting access and gun control.”
Employees seek additional protection for Google users, for example by blocking ads that misleadingly direct users to anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy” centers.
The petition was organized by members of the Alphabet Workers Union, a union that has been trying to gain ground within the company.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the petition on Thursday. The company said in July that it would begin automatically removing information about users who visit abortion clinics or other places that could trigger legal trouble. Users have always had the option to edit their location histories on their own, but Google said it will do so proactively as an added level of protection.
The employee petition said the company should also institute immediate data privacy controls for all health-related activities, including abortion information, so that it is “never saved, turned over to law enforcement, or treated as a crime”.