How Will CNN Ask Employees To Give Up Their Reproductive Rights For A Job?


Picture it—America, 2020! You are a media professional of some kind, sitting at home, checking your email, when you see a message from CNN, TBS, Adult Swim, Tyler Perry Studios, Boomerang, or one of the many film studios now based in Atlanta, offering you a great job. Or you're a flight attendant getting a job with Delta Airlines that would be based in Atlanta. Or it's another job with another company that happens to be based in Georgia.

It's a job you'd eagerly take under most circumstances, but you, unfortunately, have a uterus. Or your partner or your child has a uterus. That now makes taking a job in Georgia, or in any of the other states that have recently passed abortion bans a slightly tougher decision.

A few weeks ago, actress Alyssa Milano urged Hollywood filmmakers to threaten to stop filming movies in Atlanta in order to protest the abortion bill that Governor Kemp signed this week. The hope was that the potential threat to Georgia's economy would be enough to deter its passage. It was not.

But now there is a different issue altogether. Not just for filmmakers in Atlanta, but for any national company based out of Georgia, or any of these states that have just introduced abortion bans. How can they fairly expect their employees to relinquish their reproductive rights for a job?

The new law doesn't just ban abortion after six weeks—before anyone is even going to know they're pregnant—it also makes it illegal to go to another state to get a safe and legal abortion after that six week mark, punishable by 10 years in prison. And it allows police to investigate your miscarriage.

Now, sure. This law is going to be challenged. There will probably be a stay. But as soon as one of these abortion bans gets to SCOTUS, it's goodbye Roe. Sooner or later, this will be the law of the land in Georgia and many other states. It's not just bad news for people who might want to have abortions, it's bad news for anyone living there who can get pregnant, including those who might want to get pregnant.

Call me crazy, but it seems like a real bad idea to get pregnant and go see a doctor in a state where the police can "investigate" a miscarriage and throw you in prison if they determine that you did something to bring it on. Especially in a state in which the government is that confused about the reproductive system. For people who know they are pregnant, 10 to 15 percent of pregnancies end in a miscarriage, so that's a pretty big risk. And if you can't feel safe going to the doctor, if you have to worry that the doctor will snitch on you if you miscarry, that's going to impact the safety of your pregnancy in a big way.

Georgia has the second highest maternal death rate in the country. In fact, 8 out of 10 of the states where pregnancy is most likely to kill you have either passed or recently advanced abortion bans.

And there's a reason for that. States with more abortion restrictions have higher maternal and infant mortality rates than states that do not have such restrictions. Those who wish to get pregnant but also wish to survive their pregnancy would also be taking a risk in moving to one of these states.

Georgia and many of the other states enacting these bans are also currently facing doctor shortages. It is likely that a lot of doctors, especially ob-gyns (who are in even shorter supply these days), might not be too eager to give up their own reproductive rights, either.

Then there's college. How many uterus-having college students are going to choose to move to a state that requires them to give up their reproductive rights in order to live there? Especially schools like Savannah College of Art and Design, which one would imagine does not exactly attract a ton of conservative students. How many young people with the ability to leave the state will choose to go elsewhere for college, and never come back?

We talk a lot about the various ways Roe being overturned will affect people as individuals, but we don't talk about the impact it will have on state economies. Mostly because it's never been as real a possibility as it is now.

Should they go into effect, these laws are going to put companies in an ethical bind. On the one hand, they provide jobs to lots of people who had absolutely nothing to do with said laws and likely even oppose them, and it sucks to take economic opportunities away from people who did nothing to deserve it. On the other, there sure is something messed up about "Well, you can work at CNN, but if you want to do that you have to be willing to give up your reproductive rights." That is a big ask. There isn't exactly a lot of crossover, I would imagine, between people who want to work at CNN and people who feel comfortable making that sacrifice for themselves or for their families.

No one is going to move to a state just because abortion is outlawed there, but a whole lot of people may refuse to move there or take jobs there because of that. Those who are financially able may also choose to move away to states where they won't go to jail for exercising their reproductive rights, which would then leave those who aren't able to move but would sure like to not be sent to jail for having a miscarriage in an even worse situation.

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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