Popular Game Developer Under Fire For Anti-Abortion Stance

A game developer is weathering a backlash after coming out as anti-abortion.

By Dylan Balde | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

John Gibson, tripwire

The man behind cooperative first-person shooter Killing Floor has taken to snuffing out a woman’s right to choice over shooting down mutated clones, a Sunday tweet confirms. Tripwire Interactive President John Gibson voices his support for the controversial new Texas law barring women from terminating their pregnancy six weeks in, reasons be damned. The lead designer of 2009’s Killing Floor describes himself as “pro-life” — a word reproductive health advocates criticize as a blanket term for opposing women’s rights. Check out his tweet below:

It’s unknown if other Tripwire employees share the sentiment, or if Gibson is alone in this regard. No official representative has come forward, while coworkers have remained judiciously tight-lipped on their feelings about the matter. Whatever the case, John Gibson has been the subject of widespread social media ridicule for adopting a patent anti-abortion stance. Players have already begun boycotting the studio’s games in heated protest. Here are some of the most frenzied responses:

Some users argued with John Gibson and those who agree with him by pointing out not only what they saw as weaknesses in the science of the law, but even its religious merits.

One type of response to John Gibson’s statement that was typical on Twitter is one the game developer probably doesn’t want to see. Plenty of users were promising that Gibson and Tripwire would pay for their stance with their profits.

Most of liberal United States, which clearly does not include John Gibson, has been up in arms over the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a Texas law forbidding women from seeking abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The measure considers the first sign of embryonic cardiac activity as irrevocable proof of life, which usually occurs six weeks into gestation. Hence, no abortions are permitted to take place after six weeks, an act the U.S. Supreme Court seems to dictate is indistinguishable to murder. Unfortunately for pro-life stalwarts, gynecologists have already debunked the heartbeat claim in successive open letters; what lawmakers and Texas Right To Life interpret as cardiac activity is in fact electrical impulses mimicking a human heartbeat. The valves of the heart have not yet formed at six weeks. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against abortion on Wednesday. John Gibson of Tripwire Interactive has publicly praised the move.

What Tripwire’s John Gibson doesn’t clarify (or perhaps is entirely unaware of) is the Texas law doesn’t just crack down on personal decisions related to abortion; it also empowers citizens to take lawbreakers to court regardless of their association with the patient. Thanks to pro-life backers like Texas Right To Life, plaintiffs who may or may not know the defendant are now handed the right to sue pregnant women choosing to undergo abortion and be compensated in damages for their efforts.

The measure also doesn’t take into account unwanted pregnancies resulting from rape or incest; underage girls and victims of sexual assault are now obligated by law to carry an embryo to term without their express consent, even if the decision ultimately endangers the mother’s life. Later reports indicate exceptions for pregnancies that could result in the death or substantial crippling of the patient, but the lines are described as narrowly drawn, essentially discouraging healthcare providers from even suggesting abortion for fear for provoking the courts. Tripwire designer and programmer John Gibson doesn’t mention this caveat in any responses to his tweet.

john gibson, tripwire

The Texas anti-abortion law that John Gibson is supporting directly contradicts the 1973 outcome of Roe v. Wade and is widely declared unconstitutional. The case involved a Texas woman seeking to have her third child aborted, but was denied by the state because of stringent anti-abortion laws; she sued district attorney Henry Wade and convinced the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to decide in her favor. This led to a 7-2 Supreme Court ruling adding a “right to privacy” Due Process Clause to the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The landmark decision allows women to terminate a pregnancy as deemed necessary by healthcare professionals, with as little government intervention as possible. The new measure has already overturned 48 years of reproductive equity in Texas, with other states poised to follow suit. Roe v. Wade was panned by pro-life critics for backing judicial activism, the fetal viability of which was challenged in court by plaintiffs like Tripwire’s John Gibson. Though the issue remains a contentious matter in most of the United States, in Texas, respondents are evenly divided, with pro-life activists being the most vocal.