5 of top 6 holding companies promise to fund travel for employee abortions post-SCOTUS leak

As protests grip cities across the globe and the news cycle heats up following last week’s leak of a Supreme Court draft decision indicating that Roe v Wade may soon be reversed, adland’s biggest players weigh in.

The world’s top advertising holding companies are sharing their stance on abortion access in the US and rolling out new policies that support employees’ abilities to receive reproductive care in light of a leaked Supreme Court draft suggesting that the Court is poised to reverse the landmark ruling that in 1973 legalized abortion in the US.

Here’s what the industry's heavyweights are doing:

Dentsu

A spokesperson for the company today tells The Drum: “We are encouraged to see such robust industry support for consistent and equal access to women’s healthcare across the United States, and importantly, Dentsu current healthcare benefits include the reimbursement of travel (inclusive of transportation, lodging and meals) expenses for any medical care service, including abortion, that isn’t available within a 50-mile radius of where one lives.”

WPP

WPP was the first holding company to announce updates to its healthcare policies in light of last week’s news.

In a leaked internal memo sent Friday, May 6 from the company’s chief executive Mark Read, WPP reportedly announced it will be updating its healthcare benefits, requiring all US agencies to offer funding for abortion care.

“We don’t know the full details or impact of these potential changes in reproductive rights yet but we do know we want our people to have the same health coverage regardless of where they live,” said Read in the email. “WPP is therefore updating its benefits plan to provide funding for travel that allows consistent access to healthcare and resources, including abortion care.”

Read went on to explain that agency leaders would follow up with employees independently. He reminded recipients that the company provides confidential counseling and other resources “free of charge” for all employees.

IPG

New York-based IPG has not yet released a public statement on its stance, but a spokesperson for the company tells The Drum, “IPG is updating its healthcare benefits in the US to provide funding for travel that allows consistent access to healthcare, including abortion care and other critical medical services.”

Publicis Groupe

In a roundtable held last Wednesday, May 4, Publicis Groupe’s chief executive officer Arthur Sadoun and a handful of the company’s global company leaders fielded questions from employees. At this meeting company leadership stressed that it would continue to support access to reproductive care access for US employees, per a company spokesperson. This includes offering travel support for those in need of abortion care.

Havas

Havas indicates it has yet to update its policies, but that it may be on the verge of doing so. A creative spokesperson for the company tells The Drum: “This important conversation and potentially historic decision is a critical topic of conversation for Havas creative leadership. While we don’t have details to share just yet, we’re discussing various ways to meaningfully support our employees.”

Omnicom Group

Omnicom Group says it has funded travel for care for many years, but that it is always evolving employee benefits.

"Since we updated our healthcare policy in 2006, Omnicom has provided funding for necessary travel to access healthcare providers, including reproductive services. We will continue to ensure our people have access to health services no matter where they live in the US," says a company spokesperson.

"As we’ve said before, the health and wellbeing of our people is always our top priority. We continuously expand our range of comprehensive and quality benefits to support the diverse and evolving needs of our employees."

For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.