Anti-abortion efforts and the abortion rights movement are both reaching a near-fever pitch in the United States. Earlier this month, members of the film industry threatened to pull their projects from Georgia after the state passed a law that will ban abortions after six weeks. Now, Hollywood's Georgia boycott over the abortion ban seems to be gaining steam, after at least two shows announced they'll stop filming in the state.
According to Time, Director Reed Morano has pulled her new show for Amazon Studios from filming in Georgia, after specifically scouting out an area in the state. The show in question is called The Power, and has been adapted from a novel that directly addresses power and gender dynamics between men and women. To the magazine, the director confirmed that she chose not to film her latest show in Georgia after the state's "heartbeat bill" was signed on May 7.
Morano is known in particular for her work directing three episodes of The Handmaid's Tale, earning herself an Emmy along the way. Morano said to Time, “We had no problem stopping the entire process instantly. There is no way we would ever bring our money to that state by shooting there.”
Time additionally confirmed that Kristen Wiig's upcoming comedy, Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar, was pulled out of the state as well, after the signing of the abortion ban.
To be clear, abortions are still legal in Georgia, and in every other state, for now. But this six-week ban, just like the many other anti-abortion bills that have been passed in states like Alabama in recent weeks, still reflects a direct and concerted attack on reproductive rights.
The debate over Hollywood's boycott of Georgia is a hotly contested one. Proponents of it argue that this might be one of the more effective and economically powerful ways to end the abortion ban; as Time notes, Georgia was host to 455 television and film productions in 2018 alone, generating $4.6 billion in wages for the state's film workers.
But opponents to the strategy say that the effort will hurt those Georgia film workers far more than it might hurt the anti-abortion agenda. Filmmaker Stephen Robert Morse wrote an op-ed for The New York Times criticizing the ban.
"During the past year, I worked with talented young actors and crew, many of whom are African-American, and many of whom are women," he wrote. "By boycotting Georgia, Hollywood would inadvertently also be boycotting the very diversity in the film business that it has gone to great lengths in recent years to support."
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams also came out against the boycott. To The Los Angeles Times on May 15, she said, “While I understand the calls for a boycott in Georgia, I’m going to follow a different path." She continued, “I think the superior opportunity for Georgia, in the specific, is to actually use the entertainment industry’s energy to support and fund the work that we need to do on the ground because Georgia is on the cusp of being able to transform our political system.”
If you want to help abortion rights organizations on the ground in any of the states with abortion bans, you can check out this piece on abortion funds to donate to in each affected state. You can also contact your lawmakers to let them know you want them support the fight for reproductive rights.