Georgia Governor Signs Heartbeat Bill Into Law Amid Hollywood Scrutiny

Georgia Abortion Bill
A protester dressed as a character from Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" outside the Georgia state Capitol on Tuesday Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday signed into law the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, legislation known as the “heartbeat bill” that prohibits most abortions in the state once doctors can detect a fetus’ heartbeat.

The bill, now one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws, has been criticized by abortion-rights groups as well as many in Hollywood (fetal heartbeats are detected as early as about six weeks of pregnancy). The film and TV industry utilize Georgia’s extensive production tax credits; Avengers: Endgame is among the recent pics to shoot in the state.

Kemp, who beat Stacey Abrams in Georgia’s gubernatorial race last fall, made the bill’s passage one of his campaign promises. Like in other states that have attempted similar legislation, court challenges are expected.

Several Hollywood entities weighed in on the bill as it wound its way through the Georgia Legislature, including Alyssa Milano who called for a boycott.

“To Georgia’s leaders,” she wrote in a Deadline guest column. “You have worked hard to showcase your state and bring in filming projects that have had a multiplier impact on your state’s economy, but these projects are not a given. I urge you to think hard before making Georgia a state that is not welcoming of women.”

About 50 actors including 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 signed a letter written by Milano in opposition to the bill. They vowed to “do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if H.B. 481 becomes law.”

Said the WGA East and West in a joint statement at the time: “This law would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry to work, including our members. 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.”

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