Production Companies Boycott Filming in Georgia Because of Pro-Life Bill
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
On Tuesday, May 7th, Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed the “heartbeat bill,” which bans abortion providers from performing abortions once a baby’s heartbeat is detected at 6 weeks in the womb. The only exception to the bill is rape or incest and if the woman files a police report. Prior to signing the petition, abortions were permissible up to 20 weeks in Georgia and up to 24 weeks via the standard set by the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Since at the 6-week mark, many women don’t even know they’re pregnant, pro-abortion advocates are furious, including many in Hollywood who utilize Georgia’s tax incentives to film in the state. Some smaller production companies that sometimes film in Georgia are stating they will boycott filming in the state until the bill is overturned.
“I can’t ask any female member of any film production with which I am involved to so marginalize themselves or compromise their inalienable authority over their own bodies. I must undertake production where the rights of all citizens remain intact,” said THE WIRE creator David Simon. Simon’s most current TV series THE DEUCE is about the rise of the porn industry in New York City in the 1970s.
The “heartbeat bill” goes into effect on January 1, 2020. After putting his pen to paper, Kemp stated, “we will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life.” Ashley Bratcher, pro-life supporter, star of the pro-life movie UNPLANNED and Georgia-native, tweeted to applaud Kemp’s decision via Twitter.
“Our job is to do what is right, not what is easy…We are called to be strong and courageous, and we will not back down.” @BrianKempGA Thank you for fighting to protect life in Georgia! #HB481 has been signed! #prolife #prolove #lovethemboth #georgiahttps://t.co/lpTHwD11ob
— Ashley Bratcher (@_AshleyBratcher) May 7, 2019
Ed Setzler, of Georgia’s House of Representatives, explained the bill to CBS News this way, “we’ve established that the child, in utero, that has a beating heart, is a living distinct person [and] that it gets full legal rights under Georgia law.” Georgia, like North Dakota and Iowa and other states before it has become the sixth state in the U.S. to ban abortion after 6 weeks. However, the ACLU has already pledged to fight these bills in court.
In the past few years, Georgia has sprung up as a very popular filming location for both major studio releases and independent productions. The Hollywood Reporter (THR) notes, “Georgia’s generous tax incentives give up to 30 percent back, explaining why 455 productions filmed there last year, resulting in an estimated $2.7 billion in direct spending in the state,” Marvel movies such as AVENGERS:ENDGAME, BLACK PANTHER and the upcoming SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING filmed in the Peach State in addition to 2018’s fall releases FIRST MAN and THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN IT’S WALLS.
Production companies boycotting the state because of the bill include; Killer Films (VOX LUX), Colorforce (CRAZY RICH ASIANS), Blown Deadline Productions (THE DEUCE), Duplass Brothers Productions (THE BRONZE), CounterNarrative (TRIPLE FRONTIER). Although many of the aforementioned production companies fall into the “independent” sector of the industry, the “heartbeat bill” is causing major studios to consider the pros and cons of continuing production in Georgia. This, of course, would be a huge double standard, as Hollywood studios have happily filmed the new STARS WARS movies, STAR TREK BEYOND, FURIOUS 7, and many more movies in abortion-restrictive Islamic ruled countries like Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
Update as of 5.15.2019: STAR WARS producer J.J. Abrams and director Jordan Peele (US, GET OUT) also announced that they will oppose the “heartbeat bill” like the aforementioned production companies. However, the two filmmakers plan to do so by donating 100% of profits from their upcoming HBO series LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, in support of abortion. In a joint statement, the pair said, “In a few weeks we start shooting our new show, LOVECRAFT COUNTY, and will do so standing shoulder to shoulder with the women of Georgia.”
For more news as this progress, keep checking back to Moviegudie.org and like Movieguide® on Facebook here.