Major Hollywood Companies Vow To Cover Travel For Employees Seeking Abortions In Wake Of SCOTUS Ruling

·4 min read

UPDATED with Range Media Partners, APA, more: As reaction to the Supreme Court’s overturning of abortion rights in America sweeps the nation, Hollywood studios are focusing on the protection of employees’ access to health benefits, including travel. As of yet, they haven’t opined on the controversial decision by the conservative court.

A Warner Bros. Discovery spokesperson said the company is “committed to offering our employees across the country access to consistent and comprehensive healthcare services. In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision, we immediately expanded our healthcare benefits options to cover transportation expenses for employees and their covered family members who need to travel to access abortion and reproductive care.”

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Paramount will support – as we always have – the choices our employees make about their own health care,” CEO Bob Bakish said in a note to employees Friday, running down a list of benefits that include “certain related travel expenses if the covered health service, such as abortion, is prohibited in your area.”

Disney executives also communicated directly with staff not long after the decision was released by the Supreme Court this morning, we hear, recognizing the impact of the ruling and committing to quality and affordable care for all staffers no matter where they live or if they need to travel.

Netflix said it already offers a travel reimbursement coverage for full-time U.S. employees and their dependents who need to travel for cancer treatment, transplants, gender affirming care, or abortion through its U.S. health plans. This is a $10,000 lifetime allowance per employee and their dependents per service.

NBCUniversal parent Comcast declined to comment but we understand has a travel benefit for both Comcast and NBCUniversal employees that includes all covered medical services and procedures that aren’t available near an employee’s home.

And Sony shared with all SPE employees in the U.S. that its medical plans through Aetna provide comprehensive care — including reimbursement for travel if it required to access services available. “The Sony group of companies believes employees and dependents should have equal access to health care and medical services, including reproductive healthcare, regardless of their location,” it told staffers.

Management companies and agencies also moved to solidify their polices around the issue today. Range Media Partners said that it would cover abortion travel expenses for employees, partners, and dependents (the insurance covers the medical procedure for those on the company’s plan). It also shared resources including contacts for advocacy organizations including the Center for Reproductive Rights, the National Women’s Law Center and Planned Parenthood among others.

At APA, CEO Jim Gosnell wrote in a memo to staff today that read in part: “Given today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, we want you to know that we are here to support you, with healthcare benefit options that include coverage for employees and their covered family members who may need to travel in order to access a range of medical procedures, including family planning and reproductive health. Healthcare is a private matter for all of us, and like all other decisions and procedures in that regard, it will be treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.”

Today’s ruling will lead to a wave of restrictions across the nation in states with so-called trigger laws or preexisting laws in place that can be easily activated or enforced. The Center for Reproductive Rights had calculated if the Supreme Court overturned Roe, as it has, abortion would remain accessible in twenty-five states and likely would be prohibited in twenty-five states and three territories.

They are Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt issued an opinion within minutes of the SCOTUS ruling that “triggers” parts of a 2019 law effectively ending abortion in the state. The candidate for U.S. Senate Missouri is the first state in the country to do so.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a civil rights nonprofit, also said “concern is warranted” in New Hampshire, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Virginia, where abortion rights are not protected by state law.

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