In an incredibly dark moment in American history, the US Supreme Court voted on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that has for 50 years secured the right to abort a pregnancy. The vote was 6 -3, with all 6 ‘for’ votes coming from Republican justices. American states are now free to set any restrictions on abortions they see fit, including total bans and criminalization. 13 states already have ‘trigger bans‘ written into law, which are bans on abortion that were written prior to the overturn. This is a devastating outcome for anyone with a uterus, but also erodes the rights to privacy and choice for everyone, regardless of gender. In response to the news, we’ve seen a huge sweep of high-profile people and companies in the gaming industry condemn the decision and announce their support for anyone who might now need to travel to gain access to an abortion. Bungie, Microsoft, Bethesda, and Naughty Dog are just some of the many, many games studios that have weighed in.
Bungie, the studio behind Destiny 2, was one of the first devs to speak out a draft of the SCOTUS decision was leaked last month. Following yesterday’s decision, Bungie released a statement saying “The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade cuts off millions of Americans from that access and leaves open the possibility of even further restrictions on life-saving healthcare for all of us.” The statement went on to announce a travel reimbursement program for any employee who finds themselves needing to travel across state lines to access an abortion, and stated “We remain undeterred in our commitment to stand up for reproductive choice and liberty.”
Naughty Dog tweeted a show of support as well, with co-president Neil Druckmann encouraging folks to donate to NARAL Pro-Choice America.
I support NARAL in access to reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. If you have the means, please join me in volunteering or donating. And thank you to PlayStation for the generous match. https://t.co/QLEZiobOFw pic.twitter.com/KJT3EmpmAO
— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) June 24, 2022
Several studios owned by Sony have spoken out as well, despite an internal email sent by Sony CEO Jim Ryan earlier in the month that encouraged Sony employees to “respect differences of opinion”. Sucker Punch, Insomniac Games, Sony Santa Monica, and Guerrilla Games are just some of the PlayStation studios to have expressed their dissent with the decision. So far, Sony has not stated whether or not it has plans to implement a similar program to Bungie.
— Guerrilla (@Guerrilla) June 24, 2022
Microsoft, which owns Bethesda and is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard, already has a program in place to assist its employees in accessing abortions and gender-affirming care, but stated last month that its program would be extended to cover travel costs.
Whether or not these companies will be successful in these travel reimbursement programs is up in the air, since many of these studios’ home states have said that they would try to prosecute those who cross state lines in an attempt to access healthcare.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade threatens to affect more than just the reproductive rights of Americans. Australian lawmakers are not immune to overseas pressure, so we in Australia must remain vigilant to ensure that our rights to healthcare and privacy remain protected. We must also be sure to speak out against this attack on the rights of vulnerable people and show our support to those affected.