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Studios respond to showrunners’ abortion access letter – The Hollywood Reporter

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As requested, the studios released a written response to the letter signed by 411 female showrunners (and co-signed by nearly 1,000 additional male directors and showrunners) asking them to step in and help ensure access to legal abortions in the wake of the supreme decision. The annulment by the court of Roe vs. Wade.

“We share your concerns for the health, safety and well-being of our dedicated employees and those who support our productions,” AMC Networks, Amazon Studios, Apple TV+, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, The Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Discovery wrote in a joint letter released at the close of business on Wednesday. Lionsgate, who was reportedly one of the recipients of the showrunners’ letter, was not named in the studio’s response.

“We have independently updated our respective employees – who live and work across the country – as plans and policies change and develop to provide reproductive care and other supports now needed in states that have restricted or prohibited access to abortion,” the letter continues. “Most workers in scripted film and television productions are covered by industry health plans that are jointly administered by union and employer administrators through collective bargaining. In partnership with various industry health plan staff and union administrators of those plans, our executive directors worked quickly to review existing health benefits, and several of these industry health plans have already passed amendments providing for the reimbursement of travel expenses associated with obtaining abortion services for participants and their dependents who reside or work in states where such services cannot be legally obtained.”

On July 28, the showrunners sent a letter to studios and streamers asking for written plans to protect the ability of employees to obtain legal abortions, especially those who live and work in states that decided to ban these procedures after that the High Court struck down abortion as a constitutional right. “Within ten working days from today, we require a review of your current abortion safety plan detailing [the company’s] policies and processes to keep us safe, protect our health and uphold our human rights,” they wrote.

A few hours after June 24 Dobbs vs. Jackson decision has been made, Hollywood companies such as Disney, Netflix, Comcast, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery have indicated to their employees that they already cover or will now cover travel expenses for abortion. “We are immediately expanding our health care benefit options to include expenses for employees and their covered family members who must travel to access a range of medical procedures, including care for abortions, family planning and reproductive health”, Adria, head of human resources and culture of WBD. Alpert Romm wrote in June.

The next step, according to the showrunners’ letter, is for the signers to review the studio’s response alongside their legal representatives.

Read the studio’s full response below.

Thank you for your letter of July 28, 2022. We share your concerns regarding the health, safety and well-being of our dedicated employees and those who support our productions. We believe that they should have access to safe and effective health care and that their privacy should be protected.

Each of our individually designed corporate health plans provides comprehensive health care coverage to our respective employees. We have independently updated our respective employees – who live and work across the country – as plans and policies change and expand to provide reproductive care and other supports now needed in states that have restricted or prohibits access to abortion.

Most workers in scripted film and television productions are covered by industry health plans that are jointly administered by union and management administrators through collective bargaining. In partnership with various industry health plan staff and union administrators of those plans, our executive directors worked quickly to review existing health benefits, and several of these industry health plans have already passed amendments providing for the reimbursement of travel expenses associated with obtaining abortion services for participants and their dependents who reside or work in states where such services cannot be legally obtained. We understand that other health plans in the industry will be considering similar changes this month. Participants in the various industry plans have received communications directly from the plans about these changes.

We are pleased that our industry partners have quickly addressed this important issue and we are committed to continuing to evaluate the best ways to provide for our employees and workers who support our productions.

We want to assure you that we are individually focused on supporting the health, safety, well-being and privacy of our respective employees and those who support our productions as we continue to monitor the development of this situation. We look forward to working with you to continue creating great content for our audiences around the world.

Sign,

AMC Networks, Amazon Studios, Apple TV+, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Discovery

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2/ https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/studios-respond-showrunners-letter-abortion-access-protocols-1235196981/

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