Hollywood Amps Up Abortion-Rights Giving Led by Lizzo, Live Nation – Billboard
Written by GRB on 04/07/2022
Hollywood’s abortion-rights advocates have gone into overdrive — and opened their wallets in increased and creative ways — to support reproductive rights after the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling that overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade.
Supporters, led by a $1 million donation from Lizzo and Live Nation, are amping up their giving to both long-established advocacy organizations and on-the-ground groups (especially ones that are helping women gain imminent access to healthcare), while using their celebrity and influence to inspire further giving. As pro-abortion advocates ramp up their donations, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with a showrunner, a manager/producer, an engagement officer at an entertainment law firm and the leader of an advocacy group for women in Hollywood about what organizations right now they are supporting in the battle for abortion rights.
“Hollywood has been coming together to support leading organizations like the Center for Reproductive Rights — which argued Dobbs before the Supreme Court — in preparation for this moment, and some incredible leaders have emerged,” says Hannah Linkenhoker, chief engagement officer of entertainment law firm Johnson Shapiro. The center counts actresses Elizabeth Banks, Amy Brenneman, Lisa Edelstein, Aja Naomi King and Busy Philipps as members of its ambassador council, while producer Heidi Lindelof is a board member.
“The Center has really created a powerful community in Hollywood,” continues Linkenhoker, “and that community has driven funding, exposure, messaging and more to impact the movement for reproductive rights and abortion access.”
Many entertainment industry insiders are also donating to the venerable Planned Parenthood, including Ellen Goldsmith-Vein of The Gotham Group, who calls the nonprofit a “trusted resource for women for over 100 years.”
Lizzo has been vocal about her support for Planned Parenthood. Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling, the Grammy-winning superstar announced that she will be donating $500,000 of the profits from her upcoming tour to the organization, which offers reproductive healthcare to women across the country. Live Nation, the sponsor of the multi-date tour, has agreed to match Lizzo’s donation, making the total a substantial $1 million.
This week, Olivia Wilde led an online discussion with doctors from Physicians for Reproductive Health, an organization she has supported for many years. Many stars also are joining in protests springing up across the nation, including Philipps who was arrested at an abortion-rights protest in Washington on Thursday, June 30, and Jodie Sweetin (Full House and Fuller House), who was recently shoved by police at an abortion rally in Los Angeles. Additionally, Sweetin sponsored an Instagram fundraiser, which raised $5,000 for Planned Parenthood.
“Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken,” Sweetin said in a statement. “This will not deter us; we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”
Other entertainment industry figures have taken to social media to help raise funds. Showrunner and writer Liz Meriwether (The Dropout, New Girl) recently hosted an Instagram fundraiser for The Brigid Alliance, raising over $6,000 in donations.
“When the leak came out in May, I donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds, which is an incredible umbrella organization that funds many smaller local groups who do the on-the-ground work of getting people the care they need,” Meriwether tells THR. “Now I am also donating to Brigid Alliance, because it directly funds all travel and logistics of people trying to get to abortion care, and demand on the group has skyrocketed. I’m also donating to the Plan C organization, which provides medication abortion through the mail to anyone seeking it.”
Debra Messing has shared information on The Brigid Alliance and Apiary for Practical Support, a nonprofit national technical assistant hub for the organizations that provide practical support to people seeking abortions. And Bon Iver is sponsoring a match program for The Brigid Alliance, matching donations up to $22,000. Linkenhoker is also supporting Keep Our Clinics, a fundraising campaign to support independent abortion clinics, which provide the majority of the abortion care in the U.S. and are more likely to be located in states that are working to outlaw abortion. Abortion could be outlawed or severely restricted in more than 20 states this year in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling (around five states now have bans), which will lead to many women traveling to states that allow abortion for reproductive healthcare.
Ariana Debose, speaking with Jimmy Fallon this week, said that she’s focusing her funding efforts on making “a difference on a local level, so I’m trying to find abortion funds in my community that I can support so I can help anyone with a uterus.” In its YouTube clip of DeBose’s appearance on the show, The Tonight Show shared a link to the National Network of Abortion Funds with its fans.
And entertainment figures including Whoopi Goldberg, Chelsea Handler, Ireland Baldwin and Laura Prepon are sharing and resharing their personal stories of abortion, while encouraging support for reproductive rights.
Other Hollywood insiders are coming up with unique ways to engage their followers. BoJack Horseman showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg offered up a lottery — pledging to give five Twitter followers signed scripts of their favorite BoJack Horseman episode if they emailed him proof that they had donated to an abortion fund.
Some celebrities have focused their attention on political action and the upcoming midterm elections. Julia Louis-Dreyfus took to Twitter and vowed to match $10,000 in donations to 11 pro-choice candidates for state legislatures where abortion rights are on the line in the upcoming midterms. She also vowed to match $10,000 in donations to 80 local abortion funds.
July 9 may also see a Hollywood contingent show up in Washington, D.C., when the Women’s March sponsors an abortion-rights protest in the nation’s capital. It’s sign-up page provides a box that participants who are willing to risk to arrest can check.
Industry organizations also have banded together to provide their members with information on resources and reputable places to donate. “We created a list of resources that includes what different entertainment companies are doing for their employees and then also general resources,” says Kirsten Schaffer, CEO at Women in Film, which advocates for women in the entertainment industry. “A lot of them are abortion funds … like ARC Southeast, Northwest Abortion Access Fund, Midwest Access Coalition, Fund Texas Choice. People had abortions scheduled and their abortions were canceled, and so now they need to get out of state to make that abortion happen. And that’s what these funds help them do.”
Schaffer says she has seen a positive reaction to Women in Film’s list of resources, which includes a link to support the National Network of Abortion Funds. “People are applying to our newsletter which connected to the resources that they really appreciate the care and concern. And also, they appreciate the access to the resources,” she says.
Amid the flurry of giving, supporters of abortion rights in Hollywood caution potential donors to make sure that their funds are going to legitimate organizations. “Use your network to verify credibility, check the organization’s non-profit status — look at their 990s, look them up on Charity Navigator, look at their board of directors to make sure they are reputable,” says Linkenhoker.
And since supporters of abortions say their battle to restore access across the country will no doubt be long, strategic giving is seen as the way to go by many pro-choice advocates.
“Right now, I am donating to groups making an immediate impact on people currently seeking an abortion, and then I will make another round of donations to political action groups and voter mobilization groups who will be fighting in the long term,” Meriwether says. “This will be a long fight fought on many different fronts, and I think everyone who supports abortion access needs to be prepared for the marathon. The most important thing is to stay involved and active — as my friend Rebecca Traister wrote beautifully in The Cut, ‘Despair is poison.’”
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.