Hollywood Women Issue Call for Action to Defend Abortion Rights: 'We Need to Pick Up the Gauntlet'

The SAG-AFTRA Health Plan will now reimburse costs for travel and lodging related to abortion care for people who live and work in states where abortion is illegal.

Trustees of the guild’s health plan unanimously approved the new benefit, which is effective as of Aug. 1 of this year. A full description of the benefit is described in a Summary of Material Modifications, which can be found here.

SAG-AFTRA and the Management Plan Trustees said in a press release Friday that they “are seeking to ensure participants will continue to have access to safe abortion services regardless of where they live or work.”

“SAG-AFTRA as both a union and an employer is committed to the principle that all our members, all our employees, and indeed all Americans should have equal access to critical, necessary and often life-saving reproductive health care, wherever they live or work,” the statement reads.

If a Health Plan participant lives in a state where abortion is legal but works in a state which prohibits abortion, the participant can choose between going home for the procedure or going to the state closest to their workplace where abortion is legal. And for those living in states where it’s outlawed, they may choose to have the procedure in the state closest to them where abortion is legal.

The move follows similar announcements by Hollywood’s studios in the wake of the Dobbs decision that led to abortion quickly being outlawed or greatly restricted in many states across the US, in which such travel costs would be covered by company health plans.

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However, a group of over 400 showrunners and TV creators last month wrote a letter to studios calling on more specific demands as it pertains to abortions, including an outline of medical care for employees, criminal and legal protection and an end to political donations to anti -abortion candidates. While the studios jointly responded to the open letter, its response did not acknowledge any specific demands, leading the organization Women in Film to decry the response as taking the “easy way out.”

they sidestepped the hard work of offering real and specific protections for their at-risk workers and took the easy way out. We are disappointed by this cowardice,” the statement read.

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