Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery & others make abortion promise as Roe v. Wade overturned

US Supreme Court

Disney, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) are among a number of US-based media giants to have announced that they will introduce benefits to domestic employees who require abortion services.

The US supreme court made the widely-condemned move to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that enshrines the right to an abortion as a constitutional right last week. The ruling makes abortion a ‘states rights’ issue, with seven states enacting trigger laws to outlaw abortion as soon as it was decreed by the court.

Netflix has said that it will offer travel reimbursement for US employees and dependents who travel for cancer treatment, transplants, abortion and gender-affirming care through its health plans.

Disney, likewise, said that company benefits will cover the cost of employees who need to travel to another location to access care. Others, such as Comcast, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony, WME, CAA and UTA have all made similar decisions.

Paramount CEO Bob Bakish sent a memo to staff in which he described it as “a moment of profound uncertainty”, while Warner Bros. Discovery’s chief people and culture officer, Adria Alpert, emailed employees saying: “Given the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the likely elimination of access to abortions in some states, we are immediately expanding our healthcare benefits options to include expenses for employees and their covered family members who need to travel to access a range of medical procedures, including care for abortions, family planning and reproductive health.”

Critics of the overturn have highlighted that many of the companies now saying it will cover its employees expenses have donated significant amounts of money to anti-abortion Republicans. According to US-based anti-sexism group UltraViolet, Disney donated US$452,650 to anti-abortion politicians in 2020 while AT&T, former owner of WarnerMedia, provided anti-abortion politicians with US$4,992,266 during the same period.

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