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Hollywood Women Issue Call for Action to Defend Abortion Rights: ‘We Need to Pick Up the Gauntlet’

Industry figures like Geena Davis and Stephanie Allain Bray seek mass organizing against the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade reversal

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, thus ending the right to abortion for millions of people across the country, women in Hollywood are rallying to support abortion funds, legislative action and stories that bolster important, diverse narratives on the matter.

“Today is devastating,” Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative told TheWrap. “This decision shows the impact that a small group of powerful and politically motivated people can have on the rights of millions of Americans.”

Smith added that media can be an important champion for the cause: “I’m heartened by the commitments of media companies to act on behalf of women, and eager to see legislative action that restores the human rights that have been reversed. Storytelling is one weapon that can be paired with activism, voting, and support for various organizations to fight back against the insidious and archaic views that have too prominent a role in shaping the future of this nation for half of its population.”

Indie film producer Stephanie Allain Bray advocated for mass organizing, telling TheWrap, “Women and folks who love women need to pick up the gauntlet that our prior generation’s activists have left at our feet. Let’s start with supporting and electing pro-choice officials to enact laws that make men who impregnate women legally, financially and morally responsible for their actions. That will change everything.”

These sentiments were echoed by Kirsten Schaffer, CEO of Women in Film, who emphasized “Hollywood’s ability to change the narrative around reproductive health.” The organization, which advocates for parity and equity for women in front of and behind the camera, compiled a list of abortion resources from various entertainment companies and funds. According to Schaffer, WIF is now focused on ensuring abortion access for workers, particularly those who live in states with trigger bans as a result of the overruling.

“We’re focused right now on ensuring that women and people who can get pregnant who are working in states that are outlawing or have outlawed abortion still have access to safe and legal abortion, which in most cases means leaving the state, and so we’ve provided a list of resources both a list of companies who are either through their health insurance or otherwise providing travel reimbursement out of state, and then also abortion funds,” she said.

Speaking more broadly about the decision, Schaffer said, “We’re outraged that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe versus Wade after 50 years of protections and really believe that threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions,” adding that she advocated for voting, donating to abortion funds and supporting media that “normalize[s] conversations about periods, miscarriages and abortions.”

Oscar-winning film producer Cathy Schulman told TheWrap that she stands “in solidarity with Michelle Obama and so many other enlightened women and men who have expressed their criticism of today’s momentous back-step as it regards a woman’s right to govern her own body.”

“It is crucial that, despite the apparent immobility of a right wing Supreme Court, we stand in solidarity to be active in our own rescue,” she continued. “Those of us in Hollywood have the power to create content that is influential and visible throughout the world and we must continue to radicalize and work to prevent scores of women in America’s future from being deserted by a system that forces them to bring children into the world who they are unable to care for, who the system is unable to care for, and who may face lives without love and social safety nets.”

Outspoken industry figures also took to social media to share their thoughts and encourage not backing down from the fight to secure reproductive rights.

“Unfortunately today’s Supreme Court decision takes away bodily autonomy for half of our population,” Geena Davis, who founded the nonprofit research organization Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, wrote on Twitter. “We will redouble our efforts to be a voice for women and all underrepresented humans. We are heart broken but our work here and beyond continues.”

Shonda Rhimes, founder of the production company Shondaland, posted resources for people to get involved, including a link to “We Won’t Go Back” marches aimed at organizing and protesting against the decision. The “Grey’s Anatomy” creator also retweeted a post from the National Women’s Law Center that shared a number for those who needed immediate care.

“It doesn’t end here,” Busy Philipps, who has been open about getting an abortion at 15, added. “F— this sham. F— these people. If you’re a single issue voter and your issues is your taxes, f— you too. This Supreme Court is on you.”

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