Alyssa Milano arrives at the InStyle and Warner Bros. Golden Globes afterparty Jan. 6. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)
ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers approved one of the nation’s strongest abortion laws on Friday, as the House of Representatives gave final approval to the so-called "Heartbeat Bill." The vote came with less than two days remaining in this year’s legislative session, and only hours after dozens of actors and Hollywood celebrities threatened to boycott Georgia if the measure becomes law. Gov. Brian Kemp has been a major supporter of the bill and is expected to sign it into law.
Actor Alyssa Milano is leading the charge against the bill, penning a letter along with 50 other Hollywood celebrities which she sent to Kemp and House Speaker David Ralston. The letter says she will urge TV and film production companies to abandon the state if a "heartbeat" abortion bill becomes law. The bill prohibits most abortions after six weeks from conception and could come to a House vote before adjournment.
"On behalf of the undersigned–as people often called to work in GA or those of us contractually bound to work in GA–we hope you’ll reconsider signing this bill," Milano said in a tweet Thursday.
To @BrianKempGA & Speaker Ralston: Attached, is an open letter signed by 50 actors against #HB481. On behalf of the undersigned–as people often called to work in GA or those of us contractually bound to work in GA–we hope you’ll reconsider signing this bill. #HBIsBadForBusiness pic.twitter.com/DsOmAWYU2x— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 28, 2019
"As actors, our work often brings us to Georgia," reads the letter. "We’ve always found your state to be populated with friendly and caring people. We’ve found the hotels in which we stay and restaurants in which we dine while filming here to be comfortable and of a high quality. We’ve been glad to bring billions of dollars to support Georgia’s schools, parks, and communities.
"But we can not in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if HB 481 becomes law," the letter reads, in part.
After Friday’s vote, Kemp issued this statement:
"Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state. I thank these lawmakers for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage. Our efforts to protect life do not end here. We must work to ease the adoption process, find loving homes for those in our foster care system, and protect the aging and vulnerable. Together, we will ensure that all Georgians are safe and have the opportunity to live, grow, learn, and prosper."
NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia State Director Laura Simmons said, "This is an all-out assault on the reproductive health and safety of Georgia women. This cruel, unconstitutional bill is part of an extreme GOP agenda to strip freedoms from women and could not be further from the values that most Georgians hold."
On Tuesday, the Writers Guilds of America East and West issued a statement opposing the bill, which they called "draconian" and said would make Georgia "inhospitable" for the entertainment, TV and motion picture industry.
The entertainment industry contributes billions of dollars to Georgia’s economy. Tax-credits and other incentives created under former Gov. Nathan Deal made Georgia one of the largest entertainment industry hubs in the world.
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The measure has the full support of Deal’s successor. "Georgia is a state that values life," Kemp has said in the past, referring to the bill. "We shield the vulnerable and shelter the innocent. This is a powerful moment in Georgia. It’s bigger than politics and partisanship. Let’s champion life today and ensure that all Georgians – including the unborn – have the chance to live, grow, and prosper."
Patch Editor Tim Darnell contributed to this article.