Showrunners launch $5 million campaign for abortion rights
In a second letter to major studios, Hollywood’s collective of 1,425 showrunners, directors and creators laid out a list of additional demands for productions operating in abortion-unfriendly states, including the mandatory appointment of a health worker reproductive. The new response deadline for studios — like the Walt Disney Company, Amazon Studios and more — is Labor Day, September 5 at 11:59 p.m. PT.
Additionally, the collective — led by female, non-binary and trans showrunners who first raised the issue — has launched an industry-wide effort to raise $5 million for the National Network of Abortion. funds. So far, the seed fund has grown to $2.5 million.
At the end of July, more than 400 showrunners put together a list of specific requests for major studios, including AMC Networks, Amazon Studios, Apple TV+, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Discovery. They were soon joined by nearly 600 male creatives and about the same number of directors. On August 10, the studios sent out a joint response that was decried by organizations such as Women in Film for ignoring certain stipulations like stopping donations to anti-abortion politicians.
The second letter, obtained by TheWrap, begins with a note of gratitude for the response, but adds that “the claims fall far short of a sufficient response to ensure workplace safety and prevent the inevitable gender discrimination in the workplace.” of our industry”. Some of the demands described include protecting employee privacy and funding legal fees.
“Reimbursement of travel expenses, while necessary, is not an adequate remedy for the denial of emergency reproductive health care that is the inevitable result of an abortion ban,” the letter continued. “In states where abortion is criminalized, an employee could be denied life-saving intervention in the event of an ectopic pregnancy; a pregnant employee involved in an accident could be refused an X-ray on the grounds that it could harm the embryo or fetus; and an employee experiencing pregnancy loss could be denied medically necessary management of a miscarriage. Additionally, current travel reimbursements do not extend to non-union employees like physician assistants who are not covered by a union health plan.
The stipulations listed are as follows:
- A clear, detailed and uniform action plan to ensure that all employees and other production workers have access to life-saving health care in the event of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, placental abruption, preeclampsia sudden, etc. This plan must include a guarantee that all employees and other production workers in need of emergency reproductive health care can be transported quickly across state lines, to minimize the risk of injury or death.
- Policies and procedures that guarantee confidentiality around access to abortion.
- Policies and procedures that ensure job security and non-retaliation if a member of a production must take time off to travel for reproductive health care from states where abortion is criminalized.
- Guaranteed coverage for attorney fees, court costs and fines for any employee or other production worker prosecuted for abortion-related crimes.
- The appointment of a reproductive health care manager for each production in an abortion-unfriendly location.
“Without such protections in place, only women and those who could become pregnant will be forced to assume an unacceptable level of risk when working in abortion-unfriendly states,” the letter said. “This would constitute discrimination on the basis of sex and pregnancy, as it would force women and people who could become pregnant to make decisions about their employment that a man who cannot become pregnant would never have to make.”
Additionally, the letter calls for the creation of a Reproductive Health Care Working Group, which will partner with the coalition and include at least one C-Suite representative from each company (appointed by 11:59 p.m. PST on September 5, 2022), representatives from industry guilds if necessary, and experts from reproductive health and advocacy organizations with experience in these issues. The task force’s goal will be to make recommendations on whether productions can continue in abortion-unfriendly states where the group “cannot provide specific solutions” for pregnant employees.
“We look forward to working hand-in-hand with our colleagues in the film and television industry to respond directly, responsibly and quickly to these urgent threats to the health, safety and human rights of our employees.” , concludes the letter.
Notably, the new letter does not include a stipulation doubling down on the call for companies to end donations to candidates and political action committees that are anti-abortion. By Variety, the request was withdrawn after consultation with the executive and will instead be supplemented by an “oversight group” that will monitor these contributions. TheWrap has asked for comment on this.
Independent of the initiative aimed at major studios and their executives, the collective has released a fundraising campaign for NNAF. The likes of JJ Abrams, Mindy Kaling, Damon Lindelof, Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, Jesse Williams, Dana Fox and more posted about the effort, under the hashtag #hollywood4abortionaccess. “Until Dobbs Falls”, Lindelof wrote on Instagram, referencing the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade in 1973.