Activism Reproductive Rights

Hulu Silences Rape Survivor Speaking Out Against Anti-Abortion Amendment 67 in Colorado

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Hulu, an online, ad-supported streaming service, has refused to run an advertisement from the “No on 67” campaign in Colorado, citing the company’s policy regarding “controversial” political positions on issues like abortion.

In a letter to the CEO of Hulu, dated October 10, the Vote No on 67 Campaign, which is supported by the Feminist Majority Foundation, asked the company to reconsider its unwillingness to air a 35-second spot featuring a rape survivor’s testimony about the far-reaching impact of Colorado’s proposed Amendment 67. The proposed amendment, a “personhood”measure appearing on the Colorado ballot, is considered a “trigger” law, which means if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned, Colorado law would ban abortion, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life or health of the woman. But the impact of Amendment 67 doesn’t end there.

If passed, Amendment 67 would change the definition of “person” and “child” in the  Colorado Criminal Code and Wrongful Death Act to include “unborn human beings.” This move would not only threaten abortion rights, but it would also threaten birth control, fertility treatments and some medical treatments for critically ill pregnant women. Amendment 67 would also open up the possibility of criminal investigations into miscarriages. As Feminist Majority Foundation Director of Policy & Research explains in the Fall 2014 issue of Ms. Magazine, “All pregnant women’s bodies would become potential crime scenes.”

According to Hulu’s advertising restrictions, the company accepts political advertising on a “case by case basis – with approval.” However, according to a letter from campaign organizers for “No on 67,” representatives for the site claimed running the advertisement meant Hulu was “taking a position” on the issue. Last week, in follow-up correspondence, Hulu again rejected the advertisement. An account manager for the company wrote: “According to our advertising bylaws we are unable to accept ‘Ads that advocate a controversial political or other public position’ which unfortunately No 67 falls under due to the subject matter of abortion.”

Now, Colorado-based Progress Now is circulating the #HuluLetHerSpeak petition. The petition demands Hulu reverse its decision about the ad “so that Colorado voters hear the truth.”

Just last week, Feminist Majority Foundation Board Member, human rights leader, feminist activist, and co-founder of the United Farm Workers, Dolores Huerta pressed young voters to reject Colorado’s personhood amendment. “Amendment 67 is saying, ‘Go back to the kitchen,'” Huerta said. “Be barefoot and pregnant and don’t come back.” She pushed back against supporters of Amendment 67 who claim that the measure would protect pregnant women, warning that it would “make pregnant women into criminals.”

“If we can’t decide on our own bodies, we can’t decide on anything,” Huerta said.

duVergne Gaines, the Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Choices Campus Leadership Program called Hulu’s decision an outrage. “How dare Hulu censor fundamental free speech for women?” Gaines said. “Millions of Colorado women’s lives are being threatened with this proposed constitutional amendment,” she said. “If it passes, it will ban all abortions, ban most forms of birth control – including emergency contraception, the pill, IUDs – and it will criminalize women who suffer miscarriages, not to mention their doctors,” Gaines warned. “We demand Hulu run this important ad!”

Take Action: Sign the “Hulu: Let Her Speak” petition here.

Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 10/14/14; Huffington Post 10/17/14; Buzzfeed Community 10/17/14; Letter from No On 67 Coalition 10/10/14; Ms. Magazine Fall 2014

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