Over 400 hundred television show creators, showrunners and head writers working across major networks and streaming platforms are demanding companies implement an “abortion safety plan” for employees.
As Variety reports, the letter was sent to top-level executives at Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Apple and more, demanding a “review of your current abortion safety plan,” within 10 business days, in order “to ensure our safety, protect our health and defend our human rights.”
The authors add, “It is unacceptable to ask any person to choose between their human rights and their employment.”
Signatures include Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, Insecure creator and star Issa Rae, Emmy-winning Marvelous Mrs. Maisel creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, and Russian Doll star and co-creator Natasha Lyonne.
“This situation raises basic matters of equality, health, and safety in the workplace,” the note continues. “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 collective of creatives is asking for “published policies and procedures to provide an abortion travel subsidy for employees of your productions… protocols outlining the scope of medical care for employees,” as well as “policy regarding criminal and civil legal protection,” and a “pledge to discontinue all political donations to anti-abortion candidates and political action committees immediately.”
It’s one of the strongest responses yet from the entertainment industry in wake of the Supreme Court reversing the Roe v. Wade decision, opening the door for states to ban abortion. According to the Washington Post, 17 states have banned abortion in wake of the ruling that sparked a national outcry from pro-choice allies, and anti-abortion laws are imminent in three more.
The New York Times published a statistical study today showing that states with abortion bans are actually the least supportive of mothers and children. Mississippi, for example, has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the country.
According to the article, 24 states “that have banned abortion (or probably will) fare worse on a broad range of outcomes than states where abortion will probably remain legal, including child and maternal mortality, teenage birthrates and the share of women and children who are uninsured.”
The letter from some of Hollywood’s most powerful creatives reminds employers that “any pregnant person working on one of your productions in states that have criminalized abortion does so at great risk.”
Read the entire letter, addressed to Netflix, below:
We, the undersigned, are 411 show creators, showrunners and head writers who currently work across every network and streaming platform in the industry today, including those controlled by Netflix.
We have grave concerns about the lack of specific production protocols in place to protect those at work for Netflix in anti-abortion states.
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.
Currently, any pregnant person working on one of your productions in states that have criminalized abortion does so at great risk. It is important that Netflix understands these risks and has comprehensive solutions in place. The purpose of this letter is to review your current safety protocols and protections on this vital matter to determine whether or not we will continue to work in these high risk environments.
Within ten business days of today we require review of your current abortion safety plan detailing Netflix’s policies and processes to ensure our safety, protect our health and defend our human rights. We expect that the specifics of your current plan address this emergency in full, including but not limited to:
● Published policies and procedures to provide an abortion travel subsidy for employees of your productions including specific information on how the employee’s medical privacy will be safeguarded.
● Protocols outlining the scope of medical care for employees of your productions, including ectopic pregnancies and other pregnancy complications that require medical treatment via abortion while working for Netflix.
● Policy regarding criminal and civil legal protection, including indemnification and defense against liability, for any member of a production who facilitates Netflix’s protocols or provides Netflix’s policy information and guidelines to an employee seeking an abortion.
● Pledge to discontinue all political donations to anti-abortion candidates and political action committees immediately.
As productions are currently in progress in states where abortion is illegal or pending criminalization, your immediate written response is required and expected within ten business days of July 28th, 2022. We also welcome the opportunity to review the written response with your company representatives for additional context should you wish. Our review will be conducted by the undersigned and our legal representatives.
Bisha K. Ali
Nicole Jefferson Asher
Ashley Nicole Black
Andrea Thornton Bolden
Mara Brock Akil
Aline Brosh McKenna
Gloria Calderon Kellett
Charise Castro Smith
Anne Cofell Saunders
Aïda Mashaka Croal
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
Debra J. Fisher
Melissa James Gibson
Amy B. Harris
Becky Hartman Edwards
Felicia D. Henderson
Lauren Schmidt Hissrich
Karen Leigh Hopkins
Shannon M. Houston
Melinda Hsu Taylor
Our Lady J
Erika L. Johnson
Courtney A. Kemp
Erica Shelton Kodish
Young Jean Lee
Melissa London Hilfers
Rachel Caris Love
Carina Adly MacKenzie
Molly Smith Metzler
Arika Lisanne Mittman
Dr. Sonya Odamtten
Nkechi Okoro Carroll
Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Janine Sherman Barrois
Randi Mayem Singer
Jennie Snyder Urman
Nichelle Tramble Spellman
Caissie St. Onge
Desta Tedros Reff
Sierra Teller Ornelas
Hilary Weisman Graham
Wilson Anna Winger
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign for our newsletters today