Hollywood’s major studios are stepping up to ensure that employees who work in states where abortions are illegal can have access to abortions, according to a statement released today by a coalition of nearly 1,500 showrunners and directors.
Last month, the coalition, which includes Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay, JJ Abrams, Mindy Kaling and Judd Apatow, called on nine of the major studios to adopt plans to “guarantee that all employees and other production workers in need of emergency reproductive healthcare can be transported expeditiously across state lines” if they live in states where abortions are now illegal in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
They gave the companies – Amazon, AMC, Apple TV+, CBS/Paramount, Disney, Lionsgate, NBCU, Netflix and Warner Bros Discovery – until Labor Day to come up with a definitive response.
In a statement Friday, organizers said:
“Our Coalition began this effort to ensure that the studios stepped up to protect women and people who can get pregnant who work on productions in states where abortion is now illegal and being criminalized.
“While there is still much work to be done, we can share that all nine studios we contacted (Amazon, AMC, Apple TV+, CBS/Paramount, Disney, Lionsgate, NBCU, Netflix and Warner Brothers Discovery) are engaging directly and individually with us to address the immediate need for safety, privacy and legal protections for their employees.
“A few companies are already exploring ways to implement a 24-hour Reproductive Health Safety Hotline for productions in abortion-hostile states. This critical resource will help ensure privacy and access to emergency and non-emergency healthcare and information and will help workers navigate the medical and legal challenges all people living and working in these states now face.
“We will continue to monitor the progress of these studios and will hold them accountable to identify and implement solutions for the issues which have yet to be addressed. We want to thank the nearly 1,500 Showrunners, Creators and Directors who stand in solidarity with us to meet the urgency of this moment, and all those who donated to the Hollywood Fund for Abortion Relief. We have raised almost 3 million dollars, which is already helping people access abortion in states where this vital care is illegal or severely restricted.”
Previously, the studios had said in a joint statement:
“Each of our individually designed corporate health plans provides comprehensive health care coverage for our respective employees. We have been independently updating our respective employees – who live and work throughout the country – as plans and policies change and expand to provide reproductive care and other support now needed in states that have restricted or outlawed abortion access.
“Most workers on scripted film and TV productions are covered by industry health plans that are jointly administered by union and management trustees under the collective bargaining framework. In partnership with various industry health plan staff and the union trustees on those plans, our management trustees worked swiftly to review existing health benefits, and several of these industry health plans have already adopted amendments providing for reimbursement for travel expenses associated with securing abortion services for participants and their dependents who reside or work in states where such services cannot be lawfully obtained. We understand the other industry health plans will be considering similar changes this month. The participants in the various industry plans have been receiving communications directly from the plans about these amendments.
“We are pleased that our industry partners have quickly addressed this important issue and are committed to continuing to evaluate ways that we can best provide for our employees and workers who support our productions.
“We want to assure you that we are individually focused on supporting the health, safety, well-being and privacy of our respective employees and those who support our productions as we continue to monitor this evolving situation. We look forward to working with you to continue to make great content for our audiences around the world.”