Bungie reiterates support for reproductive rights as US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade

UPDATE: Xbox, Ubisoft, Bethesda, and more speak out.

UPDATE 25/6/22: Many more video game companies – including Xbox, Bethesda, Ubisoft, and Humble Bundle – have spoken out in support of abortion rights following the US supreme court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

Following statements from the likes of Insomniac Games and Sucker Punch, Sony developers including Bend Studio and London Studio have posted similar support, saying, “Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights”.

The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog shared a lengthier message on Twitter, saying it “believes reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are basic human rights and essential to the health and wellbeing of everyone.”

“We will continue to uphold those values and actively support all our employees in receiving the care they need and want”, it added. God of War studio Sony Santa Monica has released a similarly worded message.

Away from Sony, other major publishers have made their own statements in support of reproductive rights.

A statement shared on Xbox’s official Twitter feed read, “At Xbox, we remain committed to our employees to ensure equal access to healthcare. We will continue to do everything we can under the law to support our employees and enrolled dependents in accessing critical healthcare.” It added, “Our US health plans cover lawful medical services like abortion and gender-affirming care, and we recently extended our travel benefits to include travel expense support assistance for covered medical services.”

Other Microsoft-owned studios shared similar sentiments. “We believe the ability to make choices about one’s body and lifestyle is a human right”, said Bethesda in a short statement on Twitter, while Double Fine – one of the first studios to speak out following initial reports of the Supreme Court’s plans last month – wrote, “Overturning Roe v Wade constitutes a direct assault on people’s safety and rights. Your body is your body. We encourage donations to local funds/organisations that will stand up for these rights”.

Ubisoft wrote, “We fully support our teams in the US. Today and every day, we believe that reproductive rights are humans rights, women’s rights are human rights, trans rights are human rights, and equal rights for all are essential to a world where everyone can be their authentic selves and thrive.”

EA – which came in for criticism last month after it reportedly declined employee requests to make a public statement in support of reproductive rights and trans rights – also shared a statement, albeit one that stopped short of directly referencing reproductive rights or bodily autonomy. “Our support is unwavering for our people,” it wrote on Twitter. “We are committed to expanding our benefits for US employees and their eligible dependents – our aim is to provide the care, support and services for the health and well-being of our people.” Apex Legends developer Respawn shared an identical statement on its own account.

EA-owned studio Maxis was a little more forthright on its Sims 4 account, writing, “We understand today is hard. For those who play The Sims, the game has always been about being who you want to be, loving who you want to love, and creating the life you want to live. Our game is a reflection of our unwavering belief that everyone has a right to choose how they want to live their life without judgment, including the right to bodily autonomy.” It also provided a list of resources for those requiring support.

Other developers and publishers have also spoken out. Devolver Digital shared a simple, direct, “Reproductive rights are human rights.”, while Among Us developer Innersloth opted for a longer message. “Innersloth supports reproductive choice and liberty,” it wrote. “The ending of the constitutional right to abortion is a gender, racial, economic, and human rights disaster for both present and future generations. There are so many people and local organisations to support. If you can, lend them your voice, time, action, money, or privilege. We stand with everyone affected”.

It shared links to a number of those organisations, including Abortion Funds, The Brigid Alliance, Trans Lifeline, In Our Own Voice, and Plan C.

Humble Bundle, as part of a lengthy statement, pledged to use its platform and community to support charities connected with reproductive rights and liberty in the coming weeks. “Today’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade severely undermines the rights all people should have to make decisions about their bodies and their health and welfare,” it wrote. “Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are fundamental human rights, period.”

“We’re committed to ensuring that all of Humble’s employees have access to safe, affordable and essential health care, including reimbursement for travel that may be needed as a consequence of today’s decision,” it continued.

“We are also working on ways that our platform and community can support charities that are committed to standing up for reproductive choice and liberty.

“We will have more to share in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, we encourage the Humble community to donate directly to organisations dedicated to fighting for these rights, including Center for Reproductive Rights, Guttmacher Institute, NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, or Planned Parenthood, if possible”.

Expect more companies to speak out, and pledge support and assistance for its employees, as the fallout from the US Supreme Court’s decision continues.

ORIGINAL STORY 14/6/22: Bungie and a number of PlayStation studios, including Insoniac and Sucker Punch, have spoken out in support of reproductive rights following today’s decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn key legislation granting individuals the constitutional right to choose an abortion – a move that gives US states the power to either severely restrict or ban the practice.

Bungie was one of the first studios to make a statement in May after the US Supreme Court’s plans to overthrow Roe v Wade were leaked to the press, calling the move a “direct attack on human rights”. Adding to that sentiment in a new statement shared today, it said, “Standing up for reproductive choice and liberty is not a difficult decision to make, and Bungie remains dedicated to upholding these values.”

“Last month, we stated without reservation that all of us deserve to choose our own path and access the healthcare we need,” the developer continued. “The decision by the US 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.”

Bungie also reiterated its commitment to “ensuring that everyone of our employees and their families have safe and affordable access to essential healthcare needs”, and noted that, as it continues to expand it digital-first workplace to more states, it “will now be implementing a travel reimbursement program for any employee to use when they or a dependent cannot get access to the healthcare they need where they live”.

“We remain undeterred in our commitment to stand up for reproductive choice and liberty,” the developer concluded.

Alongside Bungie, a number of key PlayStation studios have released statements in reponse to today’s Supreme Court ruling. Spider-Man and Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac Games wrote, “We are human beings who make games. Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights.” Dreams developer Media Molecule and Ghost of Tsushima studio Sucker Punch shared similar messages on their own Twitter accounts, saying “Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights.”

Public support from these developers is particularly notable in that a Washington Post report last month claimed Sony was refusing to approve any statements its PlayStation studios might want to make on the topic of reproductive rights. Insomniac head Ted Price was said to have told staff he believed “there would be material repercussions” if the studio chose to go against Sony’s wishes. In response to that report, Bungie – whose acquisition by Sony was announced in February – said “there will never be a ‘muzzle’ big enough to stop us from standing up for what’s right”. It would appear Sony may have chosen to reverse its alleged policy since then.

Concluding its latest statement, Bungie shared a list of organisations that support rights to healthcare, for those wishing to donate:

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https://www.eurogamer.net/bungie-re-iterates-support-for-reproductive-rights-as-us-supreme-court-overturns-roe-v-wade, EuroGamer

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