MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Hundreds of Google employees are calling on the company to expand abortion healthcare benefits to contract workers and strengthen privacy protections for Google users looking for abortion information online.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, had pledged to pay travel and other health costs for employees seeking out-of-state abortions and help some workers relocate after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled repealed the constitutional right to abortion. The June decision reversing Roe v. Wade’s 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 do not cover contract labor, which is common in the tech industry and is often lower paid and has 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 demands that the company cease any political donations or lobbying of politicians or organizations “responsible for appointing Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade and continue to violate other human rights issues.” related to access to the vote and gun control”.
Employees are seeking additional protection for Google users, such as blocking ads that deceptively direct users to anti-abortion “pregnancy crisis” centers.
The petition was organized by members of the Alphabet Workers Union, a union that is trying to gain ground within the company.
Google declined to comment on the petition on Thursday. The company said in July it would begin automatically purging information about users who visit abortion clinics or other places that could trigger legal issues. Users have always had the ability to edit their location histories themselves, but Google said it would proactively do this for them as an added layer of protection.
The employee petition says the company should also institute immediate data privacy controls for all health-related activity, including abortion information, so that it “is never recorded, given to law enforcement or treated as a crime”.