On Friday, Georgia lawmakers voted to approve H.B. 481, known widely as the “heartbeat” abortion bill. Despite threats of boycotts from some of the biggest names in Hollywood, the bill was approved by 92 of the state’s House’s 180-member chamber, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
H.B. 481 strictly prohibits abortions at six weeks after conception, usually when a fetus’s heartbeat can be detected. According to the AP, women in Georgia are currently allowed to seek abortions during the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy.
In addition, the media outlet claims exceptions can be made for rape and incest victims, but only if a woman files a police report. Special consideration will given if a pregnancy puts the mother’s life at risk. Fetuses determined not “viable” because of “serious medical conditions” will also be given consideration.
Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis Ross, Rashida Jones, Don Cheadle and Zoë Kravitz are among the 50 celebrities who announced their plans to boycott the state by refusing to film in Georgia if the bill is enacted.
Actress Aylssa Milano shared a letter signed by dozens of celebrities sent to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston on Twitter:
“As actors, our work often brings us to Georgia. We’ve always found your state to be populated with friendly and caring people,” the letter began. “We’ve been glad to bring millions of dollars in revenue to support Georgia’s schools, parks and communities. But we cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if H.B. 431 becomes law,” it states in part.
Milano and the other celebrities stood firm on their decision to no longer shoot in the state.
“This dangerous and deeply-flawed bill mimics many others which have already been deemed unconstitutional. 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,” it also says.
The letter closes by highlighting the actors’ appreciation for the state and their unwavering dedication to women’s reproductive rights.
“We want to stay in Georgia. 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.”
The Writer’s Guild of America also spoke out against the bill and the effects of a possible boycott in a statement obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “The cost would be most deeply felt by the residents of Georgia – including those who directly work in the film and television industry, and those who benefit from the many millions of dollars it pours into the local economy.”
Despite the bill’s passage and looming threats from Hollywood, H.B. 481 has yet to be enacted; in addition, Gov. Kemp, who has been a vocal supporter of it, has yet to announce when it will be signed into legislation.
Once H.B. 481 is enacted, Georgia will have one of the nation’s strictest abortion laws to date.
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Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.