Citigroup Inc. may have found a way of doing business in Texas while addressing one of the state’s hottest cultural divides.

Buried in a filing released Tuesday night, the bank disclosed it will now cover travel costs for employees seeking an abortion after several states including Texas implemented or proposed a near-total ban on the procedure. The New York-based bank will pay expenses, such as airfare and lodging, that employees may incur if forced to leave a state for an abortion.

Under Jane Fraser, who rose to become the bank’s chief executive officer a year ago, Citi is wading into the conflict over abortion rights just as some of the largest banks and asset managers in the U.S. accelerate a flight from the coasts, drawn to Texas and elsewhere by lower taxes, lighter regulation and warmer weather. Reaction from Texas Republicans was swift.

“The ‘travel benefits’ offered by Citigroup is nothing more than a PR stunt by a ‘woke’ company to support a culture of death,” George P. Bush, the Texas land commissioner running for the Republican nomination for attorney general, said by email Wednesday. “Texas is a pro-life state, and if elected Attorney General, I will hold actors who attempt to find loopholes in our laws accountable.”

Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, said “Citigroup’s decision to finance the murder of unborn children with a heartbeat is appalling, but not surprising, considering its past adoption of far-left causes.” He encouraged Republicans to “avoid entrusting their finances with Citibank and other companies that are hostile to them and their values.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation last year that banned abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks after conception. Under the law, individuals can sue doctors, clinic workers and others who help a woman end an unwanted pregnancy past the cutoff date.

Abbott declined to comment on Citi’s move and the press office for state Attorney General Ken Paxton didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The biggest names in Wall Street and tech continue to expand in the world’s eighth-largest economy. Fearing political backlash, many have stayed silent amid the stream of laws enacted by Abbott, including banning mask mandates, tightened voting rules, and, most recently, classifying some medical and surgical care for transgender kids as child abuse.

Indeed, banks operating in Texas were mostly quiet on Citi’s move. JPMorgan Chase & Co. didn’t have an immediate comment. Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley all didn’t respond to requests seeking comment. Some of the state’s biggest employers -- American Airlines Group Inc., Southwest Airlines Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Halliburton Co., AT&T Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp. -- didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

“We do not have a travel benefit for abortion services at this time,” a spokesperson for Wells Fargo & Co. said.

Citi’s policy presents plenty of murky legal issues. Columbia University law professor Carol Sanger said the bank will be opening itself and its human resources employees up to “aiding and abetting” liability under the Texas law. She said the bank may be gambling it won’t get sued “because nobody has been sued yet” under the statute’s enabling provision.

“This is such an outrageous law that they may have decided they’ll make their play, potentially take their lumps,” Sanger said. “The essence of the law hasn’t been decided yet.”

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