In the wake of a leaked draft ruling revealing that the US Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade, Destiny 2 studio Bungie has issued a statement saying that it "supports essential healthcare rights' (opens in new tab)' and is "committed to safeguarding the freedom and privacy of its employees." It also took the opportunity to roast a few followers on Twitter who demanded that the studio "stick to making videogames."
The Roe v. Wade decision (opens in new tab), issued in 1973, ruled that women in the US have a constitutionally-protected right to abortion, with some limitations based on trimester. The case was sparked by a Texas law that outlawed all access to abortion except in cases where the mother's life was threatened; the court ruled that the law violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. (Elle (opens in new tab) has a good explainer if you'd like to dig a little deeper.)
The ruling has held up through criticism and modifications in the intervening years, but earlier this week Politico (opens in new tab) revealed that the Supreme Court plans to overturn it, returning the decision on abortion criminality to individual states. John Roberts subsequently confirmed that the leaked draft is legitimate (opens in new tab), although not necessarily final.
The Guttmacher Institute (opens in new tab), a "research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide," estimated in April that 26 US states are either "certain or likely" to impose bans on abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. That looming loss of access to medical services (which, to be fair, was never great to begin with) is what sparked Bungie's statement.
"At Bungie we believe that everyone has a right to choose their own path and that freedom is expressed across all facets of life," it said. "The leaked draft decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade represents a blow to freedom in America and is a direct attack on human rights.
"By creating a divide between those who possess the fundamental right to make healthcare decisions that are right for them, and those who do not possess that same freedom, this decision, should it become final, will have far-reaching consequences that will be felt for generations across socio-economic lines."
Unsurprisingly, there was some pushback against the statement on Twitter from followers who urged the studio to avoid politics and focus on making games. Bungie, to its credit, wasn't having it.
It’s very relevant to the lives of our employees. We will never stop.May 4, 2022
you are a toasterMay 4, 2022
We’ve chosen our side and it wasn’t difficult. Our company values exist beyond our games.May 4, 2022
"Bungie is committed to safeguarding the freedom and privacy of its employees and providing support to all employees affected by this decision," Bungie wrote. "Standing up for reproductive choice and liberty is not a difficult decision to make, and Bungie remains dedicated to upholding these values."
This isn't the first time that Bungie has publicly advocated for a worthwhile cause: In 2020 it issued a Black Lives Matter pin (opens in new tab) and "Be Heard" emblem to raise funds for the Equal Justice Initiative, and earlier this year the Bungie Foundation raised $120,000 to support humanitarian aid charities in Ukraine (opens in new tab). Bungie hasn't indicated whether it plans to take similar concrete steps to support healthcare rights charities in the US, but it did provide links to four organizations for those who want to make their own donations:
- URGE (Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity)
- Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
- NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation
- In Our Own Voice
I've reached out to Bungie for more information and will update if I receive a reply.