Some arts institutions in the Red States are offering to cover travel expenses for employees seeking abortions. Most are not

After the Roe v. Wade through the US Supreme Court announced a wave of companies in states likely to enact new abortion restrictions that they would pay for employees traveling across state lines to receive medical care. The list, which includes big companies like Amazon, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, quickly spread online. However, it was unclear whether arts employers would follow suit.

Artnet News contacted 16 arts institutions in states where abortion is either already illegal or at risk of becoming illegal. The majority of institutions either declined to comment or stated that they would follow local laws.

An exception is ArtBasel, which operates one of its three flagship trade shows in Florida. The fair vowed to reimburse travel expenses for employees in the United States seeking access to abortion treatments. (The status of Florida’s abortion law remains uncertain at this time; the state bans the procedure after 15 weeks, and abortion opponents are pushing for additional restrictions.)

“Our company fully supports women in their basic human rights to health care, personal dignity and self-determination, regardless of what state they live in,” wrote Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director, via email. Florian Faber, CEO of the MCH Group, the parent company of Art Basel, said in an internal memo: “We stand by our commitment to support our colleagues, respect their privacy and support them in their personal health decisions.”

Museums, on the other hand, were far less explicit. (It’s worth noting that while Art Basel is a private company, the museums’ tax-exempt status makes them more vulnerable to interference from attorney generals and other government agencies.)

An employee of Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio — where abortions are currently banned after six weeks — said that as part of the Ohio State University system, it is governed by the university’s rules, which has not yet commented on its plans. Behind the scenes, a source close to Wexner told Artnet News that some individual department heads had told staff they would personally pay for their travel expenses out of their own pockets if necessary.

A Texas arts foundation requested anonymity over US Senate Bill 8, nicknamed the Bounty Hunters Act, which rewards citizens financially for reporting people who support and encourage abortion procurement. The foundation confirmed that they are developing an internal plan for employees, but declined to give details.

That Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, which has banned abortion in all cases except medical emergencies, said it would not cover travel expenses for staff members due to the museum’s proximity to the Kansas state line. (Kansas allows abortions up to 22 weeks; the nearest Planned Parenthood is in Overland Park, Kansas, about a 20-minute drive from the museum.) “So, the answer to your question is no, not at this time. ‘ a Nelson-Atkins representative wrote via email.

Utah’s Museum of Fine Arts also does not reimburse employees for any costs. (A judge recently shelved a law that would have introduced sweeping new abortion restrictions in Utah while a lawsuit makes its way through the courts.) “Employees can seek reimbursement for travel expenses incurred only when they are on official university business travel,” said a museum representative. The museum is part of the University of Utah, which is a public university and is therefore funded by the state. “Employee [are given] a generous sick leave scheme that can be used for medical services,” the representative added.

Some employers – including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houstonthe Bass Museum in Florida and the West Virginia University Museum of Art— declined to comment or did not respond to our inquiry. representative for the High Museum in Georgia said it has not changed any of its policies because since Roe v. No new laws were passed.

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