SAG-AFTRA Abortion Travel Reimbursement Health Plan

The SAG-AFTRA health plan announced Friday that it will reimburse participants for travel if they are forced to leave the state for an abortion.

The health plan covers eligible members of the union, which represents approximately 160,000 actors, broadcast journalists, stunt performers, news editors and other media professionals.

The plan’s trustees unanimously approved the new policy, effective August 1. Plan participants who work in a state that prohibits abortion will be reimbursed for travel and accommodation in the nearest state where abortion is legal.

Participants who live in a state where abortion is legal also have the option to return home for the procedure, the plan said. The plan covers the cost of the participant and one companion, and reimburses two nights’ accommodation in a hotel — up to $300 per night — plus additional nights if medically necessary. It also covers bus flight tickets and mileage or rental car expenses up to $65 per day. Costs for meals or childcare are not covered.

The major studios previously said they would reimburse employees for travel expenses for an out-of-state abortion. But last month, a group of more than 400 TV showrunners and creators urged employers to go further, calling for a specific set of protocols to protect worker privacy, treat ectopic pregnancy and pregnancy complications, and compensate workers for civil and criminal penalties Consequences for seeking an abortion. The signatories also called on employers to stop making contributions to pro-life politicians.

On Wednesday, several studios issued a response saying industry health plans were in the process of updating their policies to address the travel reimbursement issue. The answer did not address many of the other concerns.

Georgia is by far the largest entertainment center where abortion is severely restricted. A six-week “heartbeat” abortion ban went into effect there last month. But several other states with significant film incentives also ban or severely restrict abortion, including Louisiana, Ohio and Texas. SAG-AFTRA Abortion Travel Reimbursement Health Plan

Charles Jones

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