Hollywood Activism: Roe v. Wade

Since the June 24th overruling of Roe v. Wade, United States culture has been at odds. One side, claims victory, while the other, laments the futures of many, who will be unable to access healthy abortions and attempt to perform them anyway. In short, people will likely die as a result of this decision, which triggered state laws to ban or severely limit abortion. Georgia severely limits abortion (see our previous note on the Georgia Heartbeat Bill from 2019). How does a culture so seemingly at odds with what is perceived as wrong or right, find peace? To paraphrase Planned Parenthood’s Caren Spruch, we can change public policies if we change culture, and we change culture through art.

Caren Spruch is a person in a position of power who is using her platform to build relationships in the entertainment industry by consulting on film narratives. She has discussed that this is to combat the unrealistic portrayal of women needing abortions (white, and single) with the realistic depictions of abortion patients and their decision-making processes (often they are mothers, and minorities). Her credits include: Obvious Child (2014), Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020), Call Jane (2022), and episodes of Better Things, A Million Little Things, and Scenes from a Marriage.

In a statement following the release of the decision, Planned Parenthood wrote on Twitter: “We know you may be feeling a lot of things right now — hurt, anger, confusion. Whatever you feel is OK. We’re here with you — and we’ll never stop fighting for you. If you need an abortion, help is available to make sure you get the care you need. Call 1-800-230-PLAN or visit http://AbortionFinder.org.”

In addition to efforts inside Hollywood to help relate the message of abortion to audiences nationwide, studios and production companies openly stated their support for staff seeking abortions in states less restrictive than their home states, offering reimbursement for travel and other benefits to cover the costs of family planning. Talent agencies, film studios, and streaming giants including Disney, Paramount, Netflix, Comcast, Warner Bros., Discovery, Sony, United Talent Agency, Amazon, Lyft, Uber, and others all have offered support to their respective employees. In addition to access to adequate healthcare, crews expressed concern over the prospective withdrawal of productions in the state of Georgia as a result of its stricter stance on abortion. However reports seem to indicate that because Georgia has invested in so much into its production infrastructure, the balance in favor of politics swaying Hollywood is now leaning the other direction towards good old fashioned profits.

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