Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill” Passes House, Heads To Governor’s Desk With Hollywood Watching

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The Georgia House of Representatives narrowly passed a piece of legislation Friday known as the “Heartbeat Bill” that, if signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp, would ban abortions in the state after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or about six weeks.

The 92-78 “yes” vote (91 votes were needed for passage) on HB 481 comes as several members of the Hollywood film and TV industry — which generated $2.7 billion in direct spending in Georgia over the past year — have been calling for the bill to be voted down after it passed through the state Senate a week ago. Those calls came in part via an open letter penned earlier this week by Alyssa Milano to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Kemp (and signed by more than 50 actors, writers and producers) as well as a warning from the WGA. (Milano also wrote a guest column about the bill on Deadline, here).

“This law would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry to work, including our members,” the WGA East and West said in a joint statement Monday. “If the Georgia Legislature and Governor Kemp make HB 481 law, it is entirely possible that many of those in our industry will either want to leave the state or decide not to bring productions there. Such is the potential cost of a blatant attack on every woman’s right to control her own body.”

Amy Schumer, Amber Tamblyn, Alec Baldwin, Don Cheadle, Rosie O’Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Essence Atkins, Uzo Aduba, Gabrielle Union, Christina Applegate, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, David Cross, Mia Farrow, Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford were among the signees to Milano’s letter, which vowed to “do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if H.B. 481 becomes law.”

Meanwhile, Unplanned star Ashley Bratcher wrote a column for Dealine (here) on behalf of those who support the bill.

According to the MPAA, the film and TV industry is responsible for more than 92,100 jobs and nearly $4.6 billion in total wages in Georgia, including indirect jobs and wages.

If approved as expected by Kemp, HB 481, officially titled the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, would make Georgia’s anti-abortion laws among the strongest in the U.S. Similar bills were passed recently in Kentucky and Mississippi, with the Kentucky law currently blocked by the courts.

The ACLU vowed a similar fight awaits the Georgia law if it is signed into law.

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