Two months ago, members the Writers Guild of America warned Georgia lawmakers that passing staunch abortion restrictions may result in industry backlash. Now signed, Georgia's abortion law is prompting boycotts from production companies who make movies and television shows, as well as a slew of other high-profile creatives who say that the new rule is oppressive to women and people who need access to abortion. The list of companies joining the boycott has grown in the days since Gov. Brian Kemp signed the legislation into law, according toCNN.
At least three production companies have pledged to cease operations in the Peach State as a result of Georgia's freshly-inked "heartbeat ban," CNN reports. The law, slated to go into effect next year, makes it illegal to perform an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, The New York Times reports. Critics have lambasted the legislation for making it needlessly difficult for women to obtain safe, legal abortions, arguing that fetal heartbeats are generally first detected around six weeks into gestation — before many women even know that they are pregnant.
Notably, doctors do not even agree on whether it's appropriate to consider the fetal cardiac activity a "heartbeat" that early in a pregnancy. This is because, at that stage in development, the organ making the sound barely resembles a heart.
Now, the film industry is reacting. Executives from Killer Films, Blown Deadline Productions, and Duplass Brothers Productions have said they will not film in Georgia, in opposition to the law, according to CNN.
"Killer Films will no longer consider Georgia as a viable shooting location until this ridiculous law is overturned," Christine Vachon, CEO of Killer Films, tweeted recently.
The Wrap also reports that Monkeypaw Productions and Bad Robot Productions will donate 100% of their episodic fees to the ACLU and Fair Fight Georgia. They are currently filming a season of Lovecraft Country in Georgia, per The Wrap.
In a joint statement, Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams, who head the two production companies, respectively, said, "Governor Kemp’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Law is an unconstitutional effort to further restrict women and their health providers from making private medical decisions on their terms."
"Make no mistake, this is an attack aimed squarely and purposely at women," they added.
That such companies would take a stand against the new abortion law is not insignificant. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Georgia is just behind New York and California when it comes to film and television production in the United States.
"This law would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry to work, including our members," the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) and Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) said in a joint statement in late March. "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."
Although Kemp signed the new abortion law, it has not gone into effect yet. If other abortion legislation fights are any indication, it will likely face fierce legal opposition in the coming months.