Pittsburgh-Based Companies Dick’s Sporting Goods, Duolingo, Pledge to Help Employees Access Reproductive Healthcare

Cars are parked in the lot outside the Dicks Sporting Goods store in Cranberry, Pa. on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. The sporting goods chain says it's suspending sales of modern rifles nationwide because of the school shooting in Connecticut. They also say it's removing all guns from display at its store closest to Newtown, where the massacre took place.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

By Patrick Berkery

June 28, 2022

Duolingo’s CEO also threatened to leave Pennsylvania if the state outlaws abortion.

In the wake of Friday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Pittsburgh-based companies Dick’s Sporting Goods and Duolingo joined a growing list of corporations showing their commitment to reproductive rights.

Both have announced plans to ensure employees have access to reproductive healthcare.

Dick’s announced it would provide up to $4,000 in travel reimbursement for employees who live in states that restrict abortion access. The policy would apply to any spouse or dependent covered by the company’s medical plan.

“We recognize people feel passionately about this topic — and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision,” Dick’s President and CEO Lauren Hobart and Executive Chairman Ed Stack said in a statement. “However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them.”

In a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the language-learning app Duolingo said it was “updating our benefits to ensure every Duolingo employee in the United States can access reproductive healthcare, including reimbursement for any travel expenses necessary for accessing abortion services.”

On Twitter, Duolingo’s CEO and co-founder, Luis von Ahn, announced his intentions to move the company headquarters out of state should abortion be outlawed in Pennsylvania.

Dick’s employs approximately 50,000 people in 47 states and Washington, D.C. The company has 41 stores in Pennsylvania.

von Ahn was previously a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and started Duolingo in 2011 with a former student. The company employs more than 500 people and also has offices in New York, Seattle, Berlin, and Beijing. 

Both Dick’s and Duolingo have taken public stands on highly controversial issues before.

In response to the plague of mass shootings in the US, Dick’s stopped selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines in 2018 and increased the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21. 

In 2020, von Ahn said that former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies could lead him to move Duolingo to Toronto.


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