TV showrunners demand studio safety plans for anti-abortion states


More than 400 TV showrunners and creators demanded protections for pregnant workers in states that have banned abortion in a letter to Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Apple and more Thursday.

“We are deeply concerned about the lack of specific production protocols to protect those who work for Netflix in anti-abortion states,” the letter from 411 creators, showrunners and lead writers began. “It is unacceptable to ask someone to choose between their human rights and their work. This situation raises fundamental issues such as equality, health and safety in the workplace. Many of us wouldn’t have the careers and families we have today if we weren’t given the freedom to choose what was best for ourselves. As a group, we are committed to protecting our fundamental human rights and those of our colleagues.”

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The letter, first reported by Variety, includes signatures from Shonda Rhimes, Issa Rae, Jenny Han, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Natasha Lyonne, Ava DuVernay and many more.

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More than a month after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas include ratifying anti-abortion laws.

A bulleted list outlines the specific demands that all of these big Hollywood names are behind, such as an abortion travel grant, medical privacy protection, medical care – including those for ectopic pregnancies and other complications that require medical treatment through abortion, criminal and civil protections, and a pledge to stop all political donations to anti-abortion candidates.

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The letter requires a written response within 10 business days from July 28, 2022.

“We also welcome the opportunity to discuss the written response with your company representatives for additional context, should you wish,” the letter concluded. “Our review will be conducted by the undersigned and our legal representatives.”

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Following the withdrawal of Roe v. Wade, Women in Film compiled a list of companies — such as Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery – who have changed their health care policies to reimburse or compensate employees for travel to abortion-pro-abortion states and, in some cases, abortion care itself.

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In 2019, Netflix was the only studio to respond to Georgia’s anti-abortion law, with Ted Sarandos saying the company would reconsider its “entire investment” in the state (which is a movie center) if the law went into effect. Following the statement, other studios such as Disney and AMC Networks said passing the law would greatly influence their decision to continue productions in the state. So far, the streamer has not announced any plans to move its ventures out of state.

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