Atlanta, Ga., Mar 28, 2019 / 04:01 pm (CNA).- A group of actors are threatening to boycott the state of Georgia should its governor sign a bill banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat.
Led by actress Alyssa Milano, a group of about 50 celebrities signed an open letter Thursday addressed to Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Hon. David Ralston (R), the Georgia Speaker of the House, saying that they do not want H.B. 481 to become law. Milano films her show “Insatiable” in Georgia.
“We’ve always found (Georgia) to be populated with friendly and caring people,” says the letter. “We’ve found the hotels in which we stay and restaurants in which we dine while filming there to be comfortable and of a high quality. We’ve been glad to bring billions of dollars in revenue to support Georgia’s schools, parks, and communities.”
“But we cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if H.B. 481 becomes law.”
H.B. 481, known as the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, recently passed in the Georgia State Senate. The vote was entirely along party lines, with all Republicans voting in favor of the bill, and all Democrats against.
The amended version of the bill will now go to the House of Representatives, where an earlier version passed. Kemp has said that he will sign the bill into law.
The signatories, who include Alec Baldwin, Don Cheadle, Rosie O’Donnell, Gabrielle Union, and Sean Penn, said that if this “dangerous and deeply-flawed bill” were to become law, they would do “everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women.”
“We can’t imagine being elected officials who had to say to their constituents ‘I enacted a law that was so evil, it chased billions of dollars out of our state’s economy,’” says the letter.
In 2016, Georgia eclipsed all other states, including California, to become the state for the production of feature films, due in large part to the state’s generous tax initiatives for production companies.
Many Marvel Cinematic Universe films were shot in Georgia, including the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, as well as Academy Award-nominated Black Panther.
This is not the first time the entertainment industry has threatened a boycott of Georgia to achieve a policy goal. In 2016, Hollywood as well as other industries headquartered in Georgia threatened to leave the state if H.B. 757 were to become law.
That bill, which was vetoed by then-Gov. Nathan Deal (R), would have ensured religious officials would not be forced to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.
A group of entertainment executives also threatened to boycott Georgia upon the election of Gov. Kemp in November. That boycott has thus far not come into fruition, and was discouraged by Stacey Abrams (D), who lost the election to Kemp.
“I appreciate the calls to action, but I ask all of our entertainment industry friends to support #FairFightGA – but please do not #boycottgeorgia,” said Abrams in a tweet.
“The hard-working Georgians who serve on crews & make a living here are not to blame. I promise: We will fight – and we will win.”
If H.B. 481 were signed into law, there is very little chance it would go into effect. Pro-abortion groups have launched a series legal challenges to this type of legislation immediately upon passage.
States that have passed similar legislation have seen their laws be declared unconstitutional. Due to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, abortion law cannot restrict access to abortion prior to the viability of the unborn child, as this bill would do.
The legal uncertainty of these “heartbeat bills” has prompted pro-life leaders to refuse to support them, preferring instead to favor blanket ban laws which could come into effect were Roe v. Wade reversed.
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