Georgia lawmakers Friday turned aside threats from Hollywood celebrities and gave final legislative approval to a bill that would ban most abortions in the state.
One day after the Writers Guild of America threatened that Georgia would pay a steep fiscal price if the anti-abortion “heartbeat” bill wins final approval, a coalition of Hollywood celebrities joined with Alyssa Milano to warn that they, too, will push for the entertainment industry to flee the state if, as is likely, the bill becomes law.
A letter to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has been signed by nearly 50 stars including Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Gabrielle Union, Rosie O’Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Essence Atkins, Uzo Aduba, Christina Applegate, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, David Cross, Don Cheadle, Mia Farrow, Colin Hanks, Bradley Whitford and Amber Tamblyn, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
However, if the letter’s goal was to short-circuit the bill, that strategy failed.
On Friday, the Georgia House gave the bill final legislative passage by a 92-78 vote, one vote more than the bare minimum needed to pass.
Last week, Georgia’s Senate approved the law banning most abortions after six weeks from conception, the time at which a baby’s heart starts to beat. Kemp has indicated he would sign the bill if it cleared the legislature.
But the law has run afoul of what the celebrities will support.
“This dangerous and deeply-flawed bill mimics many others which have already been deemed unconstitutional,” the letter from the Hollywood celebrities read. “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.
“This bill would remove the possibility of women receiving reproductive healthcare before most even know they are pregnant and force many women to undergo unregulated, hidden procedures at great risk to their health.”
The letter closed with a clear threat.
“We want to stay in Georgia,” it said. “We want to continue to support the wonderful people, businesses, and communities we have come to love in the Peachtree State. But we will not do so silently, and we will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if H.B. 481 becomes law. You have a choice, gentlemen. We pray you make the right one.”
Many on Twitter suggested the actors leave Georgia’s policymaking to Georgians.
Hey @Alyssa_Milano Mother to mother, actress to actress, and as a proud Georgian, I’ve got some things to say to you. I’m incredibly proud of my home state and @GovKemp for taking a stand in the fight for life amidst backlash and dubious threats. https://t.co/dpwDFn6O70
— Ashley Bratcher (@_AshleyBratcher) March 28, 2019
Georgia is supposed to bow down to Hollywood extortionists? https://t.co/ebLpbWMvbG
— Wayne Dupree | ? (@WayneDupreeShow) March 29, 2019
Hahahaha …maybe staying out of Georgia would the best thing for Georgia.. this is so ridiculous, Entertainers in their Hollywood BUBBLE thinking they truly could make an impact, an sway the working class majority with their diluted fantasies..Stick to ENTERTAINMENT! Stupid ?
— chris (@crbillie) March 29, 2019
Killing babies is bad for all business, ma’am. We have no interest here in Georgia of taking our 30 pieces of silver in exchange for what Hollywood is peddling, much more interested in standing up for Truth and Life 🙂
— Tom Kuipers (@TomKuipers) March 22, 2019
Republican State Rep. Trey Kelley was not intimidated.
“I think it’s sad that some will try to use the movie industry to stop good legislation in Georgia. But with any proposal I do — and I know many members of (the Republican) caucus — weigh the merits of the legislation, they don’t pay attention to what special-interest groups have to say about it,” he said, according to The Journal-Constitution.
State Rep. Ed Setzler, who sponsored the bill in the House, said the bill represented what “commonsense Georgians” were about.
“This bill recognizes the fundamental life of the child in the womb is worthy of legal protection and balances that basic right to life with the very different situations women find themselves in in pregnancies,” he said.
But many Democrats were siding with Hollywood, including Stacey Abrams, who lost the governor’s race to Kemp last year.
The film industry is now integral to our economy. Ask the carpenters, hairdressers, caterers, electricians & artists from Senoia to Savannah who rely on these jobs to feed their families. For them, for us, Georgia isn’t Hollywood – it’s home. #gapol #HB481IsBadForBusiness
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) March 29, 2019
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