human rights

Over 400 TV Writers Demand Executives to Protect Staff in Anti-Abortion States

Shonda Rhimes and Issa Rae have signed the letter, among others. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Tommaso Boddi/FilmMagic and Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Television showrunners, creators, and head writers have come together to demand action from top-level executives to outline specific protections for pregnant staff in states where abortion is outlawed. On July 28, the 411-strong collective sent a letter to execs at Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros., Discovery, NBC Universal, Apple and more, urging these companies to take up specific protocols to address the anti-abortion laws triggered by Dobbs, the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. “It is unacceptable to ask any person to choose between their human rights and their employment,” the letter states. “We are committed, as a group, to protecting our fundamental human rights and those of our colleagues.” TV heavyweights Shonda Rhimes, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Issa Rae, Natasha Lyonne, Ava DuVernay, and more signed the demand.

The letter, obtained by Variety, calls for official published policies for subsidizing employees’ out-of-state travel to obtain abortions, outlining the scope of medical care for ectopic pregnancies and other pregnancy-related complications, and protecting employee privacy. They also detail a criminal and civil indemnification policy for anyone helping a colleague obtain an abortion. The collective also asks executives to immediately discontinue all political donations to anti-abortion politicians and political action committees. The writers demand a response from the studios within ten days of the July 28 receipt. The letter recalls a 2019 movement to cease filming in Georgia after the state passed a restrictive law that would make it nearly impossible for people to get abortions.

TV Writers Demand Protections in Anti-Abortion States