Hollywood screenwriters’ union threatens to boycott Georgia over heartbeat abortion ban
ATLANTA, March 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s top labor unions representing television and film writers vociferously condemned a proposal to ban most abortions in Georgia once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, threatening to boycott the state.
House Bill 481, which passed the Georgia Senate on Friday, forbids abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected except in cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, or pregnancies deemed to be “medically futile.”
On Tuesday, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) East and West released a joint statement blasting the law and hinting its passage would threaten the film industry’s future work in the state, Deadline reported.
“This law would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry to work, including our members,” WGA said. “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.
“The cost would be most deeply felt by the residents of Georgia – including those who directly work in the film and television industry, and those who benefit from the many millions of dollars it pours into the local economy,” it continued, calling on leaders to derail the bill.
Citing the governor’s office and the Motion Picture Association of America, Deadline added that the film industry generated $2.7 billion in direct spending for the latest fiscal year and has added more than 92,100 jobs and almost $4.6 billion in total wages to the state.
The demands follow another call for Hollywood to boycott the state, made days earlier by outspoken liberal actress Alyssa Milano:
There are over 20 productions shooting in GA & the state just voted to strip women of their bodily autonomy.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 23, 2019
Hollywood! We should stop feeding GA economy. #HB481IsBadForBusiness
Heartbeat bill approved by Georgia Senate https://t.co/sFdahrIGnY https://t.co/TXJKMOPHcJ
It remains to be seen whether Hollywood will follow through on the threat, and for the moment it appears other businesses are unwilling to join in. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said it “reached out to each of the Georgia-based Fortune 500 companies that opposed a significant religious liberty measure in 2016 to poll them about the anti-abortion bill pending now,” but most “declined to comment or said they were staying out of the debate.”
Writing at the North State Journal, conservative blogger Stacey “Sister Toldjah” Matthews argued that the AJC made the inquiries because it was “doing the bidding of” failed Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who has demanded boycotts over the heartbeat bill.
“It’s like a double whammy – the media helps the left do the dirty work of shaming these companies into caring and making economic threats over controversial issues,” Matthews wrote. “Then those liberal groups turn around and blame bill sponsors for inspiring the boycott threats, when most of the businesses would not have gotten involved in the debate had it not been for the combined efforts of leftist groups and media outlets dogging them into responding.”
But while pro-abortion voices assail the heartbeat bill as too extreme, pro-lifers are currently debating whether it’s strong enough. The Senate version added rape and incest exceptions that weren’t present in the House version, which the Georgia Catholic Conference says it laments but still endorses the bill “because it would prohibit many abortions that are legal today.”
As the bill returns to the state House to resolve the differences between the two versions, Georgia Right to Life is calling for House lawmakers to remove the bill’s exceptions.
“The legislation contains some strong Personhood components, and though Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) was hopeful, we are saddened that the bill discriminates against classes of innocent human beings,” executive director Zemmie Fleck wrote in a letter to pro-lifers. “This is not justice or equal protection for all babies in the womb.”
AJC quoted Republican State Rep. Ed Setzler, the bill’s sponsor, as justifying the exceptions as a compromise to gain votes for the overall bill, but Save the 1’s Heather Hobbs warned that “If these discriminatory exceptions remain, we, as an organization, will sue the state of Georgia.”