Directors Guild Health Plan adds abortion services to include dependent children

·2 min read
The Directors Guild of America headquarters is pictured on April 16, 2020, in Los Angeles. Hollywood's unions announced Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, that they have reached an agreement on pandemic protocols with major studios that will allow the broad resumption of production of films and television after six months of empty sets and widespread unemployment. The Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Basic Crafts unions and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists jointly announced the deal reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers after months of planning and negotiating. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
The Directors Guild of America headquarters is pictured on April 16, 2020, in Los Angeles. The Board of Trustees of the Directors Guild of America — Producer Pension and Health Plan expanded coverage of abortion services for dependents and travel costs. (Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)

The health plan for members of one of Hollywood's most powerful unions, the Directors Guild of America, has expanded coverage for abortion services to include dependents and travel benefits.

The Board of Trustees of the Directors Guild of America — Producer Pension and Health Plans, which provides benefits for the almost 19,000 union directors and directorial team members, unanimously approved amendments that would allow children of union members to be covered for abortion care and travel costs for those working in states where the treatment is no longer legal.

The plan trustees reaffirmed coverage for elective and emergency terminations, as well as coverage for medications necessary to induce abortion.

“I am proud that in a time when our human rights are being challenged and so much in our nation is unclear regarding abortion rights after the devastating decision by the Supreme Court, that the DGA Plans offer clear and comprehensive abortion coverage for our members,” DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter said in a statement.

The DGA health plan action is the latest move among Hollywood employers and unions in the wake of a Supreme Court decision to end a constitutional right to abortion. Last month Walt Disney Co., Netflix, Sony Pictures and Paramount, as well as unions including SAG-AFTRA and the DGA, made commitments to reimburse travel costs for those who could no longer access abortion or pregnancy care in their states as a result of the decision.

“The expansion of abortion services by the plans this morning is critical to protect the health, safety and rights of DGA members and their dependents,” plan chairman Jay Roth said in a statement.

The DGA — Producer Pension and Health Plans are separate from the union and are run by a board of trustees comprised of representatives for both the guild and Hollywood producers.

The Directors Guild Foundation last month approved a new policy to provide financial travel assistance to members who need to travel out of state to ensure they have access to abortion services. Also SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood’s biggest union, last month told its staff it would support its employees in states that restrict abortion access by paying for travel to states where they can get the services.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.