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Sony studios, major game publishers offer public support for abortion rights

Just some of the game franchises represented by studios coming out in support of reproductive rights today.
Enlarge / Just some of the game franchises represented by studios coming out in support of reproductive rights today.

Last month, Insomniac Games (Spider-Man) CEO Ted Price reportedly told his employees that parent company Sony “will not approve ANY statements from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights.” That is apparently no longer true, as Insomniac and other Sony studios have tweeted statements in support of “reproductive freedom” in the wake of this morning’s Supreme Court decision overturning the longstanding Roe v. Wade precedent on the issue.

“We are human beings who make games,” Insomniac tweeted this morning. “Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights.”

By the afternoon, many of Sony’s other North American game studios had started tweeting similar messages, including Sucker Punch (Ghost of Tsushima), Naughty Dog (The Last of Us), Santa Monica Studio (God of War), San Diego Studio (MLB: The Show), and Bend Studio (Days Gone). Some of Sony’s European studios, including Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet), Guerilla Games (Horizon), and PlayStation London Studio, have also joined in with tweeted statements of support.

“Naughty Dog believes reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are basic human rights and essential to the health and wellbeing of everyone,” the studio wrote in its tweet. “We will continue to uphold these values and actively support all our employees in receiving the care they need and want.”

Travel and other support

That bit about “actively support[ing]” employees may be less important for the Santa-Monica-based Naughty Dog since California seems likely to continue protecting abortion access via legislation. For Sony studios in less abortion-friendly states, though (such as Austin, Texas-based Bluepoint Games), the parent company has yet to publicly follow the lead of Microsoft, which committed in early May to fund out-of-state travel for employees that needed it to seek abortion-related care.

Destiny-developer (and soon-to-be-Sony-subsidiary) Bungie led the game industry by offering strong public support for “reproductive choice” last month. Today, Bungie updated its public statement on the issue and outlined its own 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.”

In a statement provided to the press, Activision Blizzard reaffirmed its plans, first announced earlier this month, to offer “expanded medical travel benefits” for issues “including reproductive health, gender-affirming treatment, transplant care, and any other medical care… that is not available in a covered person’s state, or within 100 miles of where they live.”

Other major game publishers including Ubisoft, BethesdaNiantic Labs, and Devolver Digital have tweeted out statements in support of reproductive rights today. And the International Game Developers Association told Ars in a statement that “we believe bodily autonomy and choice over one’s own reproductive and healthcare matters” are crucial to the organization’s mission. “One must be in control of their own health matters in order to successfully manage their career and life.”

Earlier this month (and amid reported pressure from employees) Electronic Arts tweeted a Pride Month statement that included the phrase “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.”

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