Writer's Guild Of America West Is Asking Studios To Consider Abortion Laws When Choosing Shooting Locations

Following the leak of the horrific draft of the Supreme Court decision to overturn national abortion rights protections, the Writers Guild of America West is urging productions to choose filming locations in states where reproductive healthcare will be preserved by state law.

The statement, which was issued on May 4, reads in full:

"In light of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion rights, we want to reaffirm our Guild's commitment to fighting on our members' behalf against inequality and discrimination. Women's rights are human rights, and any laws that ban or limit a woman's right to choose are dangerous and set a precedent for further erosion of our collective civil rights. We call on our employers to consider the laws of each state when choosing production locations to ensure that our members will never be denied full access to reproductive healthcare."

In March, the WGAW called for similar judgment calls to be made in light of the passing of the abhorrent "Don't Say Gay" bill in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis. Additionally, the union has also previously called for productions to rethink their locations in states like Georgia due to their restrictive legislation on reproductive rights at the state level.

The price of fighting for your cause

There's no denying that this show of solidarity from the WGAW is a powerful acknowledgement of the very real dangers people with uteruses are going to face in the United States for the foreseeable future. At the same time, the broad scope of how this law can be interpreted at a state level, what kind of legislation it paves the way for, and the amount of states that will be subject to full abortion bans severely complicates the clear-cut moral choice of refusing to shoot in severely affected states.

When the Supreme Court makes a ruling to overturn federal law, typically the burden falls on the states to shape their own policies as they see fit. Thirteen states have what is called a "trigger law" designed to almost immediately ban abortion in those states if the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade becomes final. (Reminder: Abortion is still, at the time of this publication, legal in the United States.) Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming will each outlaw abortion upon the official passing of the court's decision, but reproductive rights are also at severe risk in Iowa, Nebraska, West Virginia, Georgia, and Florida, according to CNN.

Clearly, the court's decision to gut reproductive autonomy for women could potentially greatly impact the film and television industry. Georgia, for example, is a beloved tax haven for productions, which was called into question by the entertainment industry previously based on their state laws regarding abortion. At this point, the WGAW is simply urging productions to think critically about their locations before committing, but if they decide to actively boycott those states, it could cause a major upheaval in the flow of production across the industry. That said, the good fight must be fought — and we can only hope that the industry will commit to being in the trenches to the fullest in our battle for bodily autonomy, no matter the chaos it may bring for workflow.