TV Showrunners Demand Studio Safety Plans for Anti-Abortion States

A group of more than 400 sent a letter to Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros. Discover and more

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More than 400 television showrunners and creators demanded protection for pregnant employees in states that have outlawed abortion in a letter sent to Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Apple and more Thursday. 

“We have grave concerns about the lack of specific production protocols in place to protect those at work for Netflix in anti-abortion states,” the letter from 411 creators, showrunners and head writers began. “It is unacceptable to ask any person to choose between their human rights and their employment. This situation raises basic matters of equality, health, and safety in the workplace. Many of us would not have the careers and families we have today if we had not been granted the freedom to choose what was best for ourselves. We are committed, as a group, to protecting our fundamental human rights and those of our colleagues.”

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

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

A bulleted list outlines the specific demands all these Hollywood big names are behind, such as an abortion travel subsidy, safeguarding of medical privacy, medical care — including that for ectopic pregnancies and other complications that require medical treatment via abortion, criminal and civil legal protection, and a pledge to discontinue all political donations to anti-abortion candidates.

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

“We also welcome the opportunity to review 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.”

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

In 2019, Netflix was the sole studio to respond to Georgia’s anti-abortion law, with Ted Sarandos saying the company would rethink its “entire investment” in the state (which is a filming hub) should the law take effect. Following the statement, other studios like Disney and AMC Networks said the law’s passing would strongly affect their decision to continue productions in the state. Thus far, the streamer has not announced any plans to move its ventures from the state.