On April 2, “Insatiable” actress Alyssa Milano and roughly 30 other members of the Georgia film industry went to hand-deliver a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp urging him to veto House Bill 481 and threatening to boycott filming in Georgia if it goes into effect.
This left many Georgians wondering what would happen to an industry that’s brought great economic growth but is still very new, according to the New York Times.
House Bill 481, also known as the “heartbeat” bill, would outlaw abortions at as early as six weeks, which is about the time a heartbeat can be detected in the womb. Right now, abortions are allowed up to 20 weeks in Georgia.
An abortion will only be allowed to be performed after six weeks if the fetus is non-viable or not capable of living, if the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest and a police report has been filed, or if it’s needed to prevent the death of a pregnant woman “or the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of a pregnant woman.”
“The legislature, instead of focusing on maternal and child health … [is] focusing on things that are about control,” Andrea Young, the executive director of American Civil Liberties Union, said.
Many women’s health doctors have sent out memos letting their clients know the bill isn’t in effect yet and they’ll perform the abortion procedure until it does, Young said.
“It creates one more layer of fear and anxiety at a time where women have very difficult choices to make and they need accurate information about their options,” Young said.
What’s up with Hollywood?
Milano and 30 other members of Hollywood working in Georgia have threatened to pull out of Georgia if House Bill 481 is enforced.
“We are going to do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if HB 481 becomes law,” Milano said in an article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Craig Miller, executive producer at Craig Miller Productions, doesn’t believe anything will change and said there’s always been a movement outside of Georgia that would rather be producing in cities like Los Angeles or New York.
“If you look at the people who are protesting, especially the actors, they don’t get to make any decisions,” Miller said. “The industry in general … has had no comment on this. There is nothing from any of the major studios.”
When studios came to Georgia, sound stages and other major infrastructure was built to support the businesses coming in. There’s also a push to educate Georgians on the film industry, through the Georgia Film Academy and other institutions, so locals can work within it, Miller said.
Right now, most of the ideas for the projects being produced are coming out of LA or New York, and come to Georgia to produce them, Miller said.
“What we want are Georgians that want to develop their own content … and make their projects here,” Miller said. “That will help make us sustainable.”
If the film industry in Georgia becomes more sustainable, the state will no longer have to rely on creators from other cities to produce their content here, according to Miller.