Georgia Gov to Sign Pro-Life Bill Despite Hollywood Backlash

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by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  April 4, 2019   

In face of boycott threats from film industry, Gov. Brian Kemp plans to sign LIFE Act into law

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ATLANTA (ChurchMilitant.com) - Despite backlash from Hollywood celebrities, the governor of Georgia plans to sign a pro-life bill into law.

Pro-abortion actress Alyssa Milano wrote a letter to Georgia's Republican governor, Brian Kemp, arguing against the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, which would ban abortions on unborn babies with a heartbeat under most circumstances. A baby's heartbeat typically begins about six weeks after conception.

Milano's petition, delivered to the governor during a rally on Tuesday, was signed by 50 actors, including big-name celebrities such as Rosie O'Donnell, Ben Stiller, Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Sean Penn, Sarah Silverman, Wil Wheaton and Mia Farrow. It calls the fetal heartbeat bill "dangerous," "deeply-flawed" and "unconstitutional."

Since some Hollywood films and movies are shot in the state of Georgia, the pro-abortion actors are threatening to boycott the state. They hope the threat of harming the local economy will persuade the governor to rethink the bill.

The letter states at one point, "As men who identify as small-government conservatives, we remind you that government is never bigger than when it is inside a woman's body or in her doctor's office."

Governor Kemp isn't backing down in the face of criticism from Hollywood elites. The governor told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "I can't govern because I'm worried about what someone in Hollywood thinks about me. I ran the last two years on these issues, and I got elected with the largest number of votes in the history of the state of Georgia."

 

Republican State Representative Ed Setzler authored the fetal heartbeat bill. He told USA Today, "It's not only about one person, it's about two persons."

Setzler continued, "To allow the more powerful person in the relationship, the mother, to be able to completely dispose of and destroy a living distinct child is just unfair, it's wrong." 

During Milano's rally Tuesday, Republican State Representative Dominic LaRiccia asked Milano what district in Georgia she votes in. Milano admitted she is not a resident of Georgia. She works there on her Netflix series Insatiable.

The LIFE act, also called House Bill 481, would ban abortion after the unborn baby has a detectable heartbeat, except in cases of rape, incest and medical concerns.

In addition to Milano's letter opposing the pro-life bill, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) also voiced opposition. The WGA is a joint effort of two labor unions — WGA East and WGA West — representing writers in the television and film industry. 

The labor union group said in a statement on March 26, "HB 481 is a draconian anti-choice law that would in essence constitute a state-wide ban on abortion since a fetal heartbeat is usually detectable approximately six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women are aware they are pregnant or have had reasonable time to consider their options."

The statement warned that Georgia could lose business for passing the pro-life law, saying, "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."

Kemp told news outlet WTOC 11 that he does not think the threats of boycotting Georgia will have much impact on the economy.

"I do not think it will hurt the film industry in Georgia or any other business whatsoever," the governor opined. "Us sticking up for our Georgia values and protecting life is not going to create a bad business environment in Georgia, I can promise you."

When asked if he would sign the fetal heartbeat bill into law, the governor replied, "Oh absolutely, yeah."

When asked if he would sign the fetal heartbeat bill into law, the governor replied, 'Oh absolutely, yeah.'

The Hill reported on March 27 that 455 film productions were shot in Georgia during the 2018 fiscal year, according to numbers put out by the state. These productions generated some $9.5 billion in total economic impact for the state's economy.

Pro-life politicians have pushed for heartbeat bills similar to Georgia's in states around the country. States such as Florida, KentuckyMississippi, Ohio and Tennessee have seen heartbeat bills introduced in their respective state legislatures.

These pro-life heartbeat bills are often shot down in the courts. For instance, this happened last month in Kentucky, when a judge sided with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

The ACLU is a liberal-leaning nonprofit that claims to defend and promote individual liberty. It has already announced plans to challenge Georgia's heartbeat bill in the courts in similiar fashion.

Both sides of the abortion debate in the United States expect that one of these heartbeat bills will make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Depending on the ruling, the nation's highest court could reinforce or chip away at Roe v. Wade — the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that enshrined abortion as a constitutional right.

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