Hollywood vs State of Georgia: Alyssa Milano leads star charge against Heartbeat bill, warns state of boycott
Milano is one of many Hollywood celebrities who have written to state governor Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and House Speaker David Ralston to chuck the bill
Actress Alyssa Milano is leading the Hollywood charge against Georgia's "Heartbeat Bill" that is up for vote in the state's House next Tuesday. According to the bill, which was passed by the state Senate last Friday, abortions would not be allowed once a doctor detects a fetal heartbeat in the womb.
In a guest column written for Deadline on March 25 titled 'When it comes to women's rights in Georgia, Hollywood is silent', Milano reminded the state how Georgia’s film industry was ready to "pack up and leave" in 2016 after the General Assembly passed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was "essentially a license to discriminate against the state’s LGBTQ+ community."
She mentioned how the then-Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, "had the good sense to veto the bill, protect his state’s reputation, and save Georgians from economic decline."
Milano, who is shooting season 2 of Netflix original series 'Insatiable' in Georgia, asked the leaders of Georgia to rethink the bill as it would make Georgia a state "that is not welcoming of women."
"Why is HB 481 so alarming for Georgia when it comes to film? Each time leaders in the film industry schedule a production, they think very carefully about where we are going to film it. Women are increasingly in these decision-making roles. A lot of factors go into filming decisions, and when multiple options are available, state and local laws become part of the equation. It’s not just about tax laws; it’s about how the government treats its people. Women who work in Georgia’s film industry — many of them visiting from other states — need access to safe and legal reproductive care, including their constitutional right to an abortion. HB 481 takes that right away, forcing women to risk losing their jobs," she wrote in her piece.
Milano is also one of more than 40 Hollywood celebrities who have signed a letter to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and House Speaker David Ralston claiming that they will urge TV and film production companies to abandon shooting in the state if the heartbeat abortion bill becomes a law.
The state gives huge tax incentives to movie projects, and last year alone, Georgia was home to 455 filming projects, generating $2.7 billion in direct spending for the state.
However, Milano said that "these projects are not a given" and will depend on how the state votes on the bill.
Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Gabrielle Union, Mia Farrow, Alec Baldwin, Sophia Bush, Patton Oswalt, Ben Stiller, Amber Tamblyn, Don Cheadle, Rosie O'Donnell, Uzo Aduba, Christina Applegate, Sean Penn, David Cross, Michael Sheen, Felicia Day, Laverne Cox, Essence Atkins, Bradley Whitford, and Colin Hanks among others have signed the letter.
While Milano's petition has been gaining momentum, she is facing a fair amount of flak herself over her stand.
There were also personal attacks on the actor's life and character.
Meanwhile, Ashley Bratcher of 'Unplanned' (a film based on Planned Parenthood director-turned-anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson), and who lives in Georgia, wrote a response in Deadline to Milano.
"Over 61 million lives [from Bratcher's generation] never reached their full potential. How many doctors, scientists, philosophers, and even actors like you and me, never had the chance to leave their beautiful marks on the world? I too, just one year ago, was more pro-choice than I am today. It was during the filming of my latest movie, 'Unplanned', that I was truly convinced how wrong I had been. That's the power of film."
Well, you've got to appreciate the hustle to slip in this plug for 'Unplanned', which is opening today in 1,006 theatres nationwide. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the Heartbeat Bill is regressive in nature.