Video Game Companies Respond to Supreme Court Abortion Ruling

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On Friday, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 vote that removed the constitutional right to choose to have an abortion. The United States had protected Americans’ abortion rights for half a century; the landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization undoes decades of progress and introduces the possibility of other established rights being overturned, such as the right to same-sex marriage and birth control.

States must now decide individually whether abortion is legal, and in response to the Supreme Court ruling, nine states have already banned the procedure. Twelve other states are likely to ban or severely restrict access to abortion care, according to the New York Times. People seeking an abortion in these states will be required to travel out of state to receive health care, and if they cannot travel, they will have no other recourse.

As The Verge reported in May, banning abortion in dozens of states will tie health care even more firmly to employers and workplaces. Now that Roe v. Wade has been canceled, many companies have issued statements declaring their intention to support employees who must travel to obtain this procedure. Video game studios are joining companies in all industries in adding abortion coverage and medical travel benefits to healthcare packages. Workers living in affected areas who work in these companies will be able to apply for funding to receive essential care, but this gives employers exceptional power. Without a nationwide right to health, corporations must step in, exposing inequities across the entire health system.

Fate 2 Developer Bungie was one of the first studios to issue a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision. “Bungie is committed to ensuring that each of our employees and their families have safe and affordable access to essential healthcare,” a Bungie representative wrote on its website. “As we continue to expand our digital workplace to more states, we will now be implementing a travel expense reimbursement program that any employee can use when they or a dependent cannot access the health care he needs where he lives.”

Bungie has also partnered with a number of organizations that support health rights, like Trans Lifeline and Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equality.

Microsoft, Bethesda (which is owned by Microsoft), Ubisoft, Devolver Digital, dawn games, Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Electronic Arts and others have all released public statements in support of reproductive rights. Activision Blizzard hasn’t released a statement on social media yet, but it told Polygon that “maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for everyone is a top priority” for the company, noting that it recently expanded its medical travel benefits plan.

Activision Blizzard did not respond to Polygon’s request for more information on how it will protect the privacy of employees who need to ask their employer for travel and healthcare-related funds. In response to the same question, a spokesperson for Electronic Arts said the company is working with its healthcare provider “to determine this process.”

Infinite Halo Support developer Certain Affinity is headquartered in Texas, one of the states that quickly banned abortion following the Supreme Court ruling. A representative for that company told Polygon that it will keep its headquarters in Texas, but has expanded its remote work options for employees who choose to relocate.

“We are committed to relocating all of our employees who are severely impacted by state laws, regardless of which state they are in, to another state, should the need arise,” a said a representative for Certain Affinity. “This applies to all health issues.”

In total, Polygon reached out to 28 video game companies based in immediately affected states where abortion was quickly banned with a series of questions regarding abortion care. Microsoft, Daybreak Games, and Electronic Arts told us about social media or website statements, while Activision Blizzard sent a statement. Certain Affinity answered Polygon’s questions through a spokesperson. Most did not respond before press time. Take-Two Interactive and Zynga declined to comment.

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