Georgia boycott falls flat after heartbeat bill passes

shutterstock 1194532948 Actress Alyssa Milano, star of direct-to-video Poison Ivy 2: Lily, addresses a crowd in Washington, DC, Sept 2018. | Rachael Warriner / Shutterstock

Following the passage of the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act in Georgia earlier this week, a promised boycott by film and television figures has failed to materialize.

Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed the bill into law on Wednesday. Actress Alyssa Milano wrote an open letter Kemp in March, threatening a widespread entertainment industry boycott should the LIFE Act pass. The letter was co-signed by about 50 Hollywood actors.

At the time of the bill's signing, Kemp said that "I realize that some may challenge [this bill] in the court of law. But our job is to do what is right, not what is easy."

So far, only the three companies--Blown Deadline, Killer Films, and Duplass Brothers Production-- have said that they will only consider filming in Georgia if the law is overturned. None have previously worked in the state.

Milano herself is still filming for her current project "Insatiable," which is shot in Atlanta. While she remains on set, the former child star of "Who's the Boss?" told BuzzFeed News that she would not return to the show if it were to be renewed for a third season, unless production was moved from Georgia.

The Motion Picture Association of America, which represents entertainment companies such as Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Netflix, all of whom actually film movies and television shows in Georgia, has not taken any position on the boycott.

MPAA spokesman Chris Ortman told the Hollywood Reporter that the organization had taken no decision to boycott the state, citing its deep ties to the local economy and the likely legal challenges the law will face.

"It is important to remember that similar legislation has been attempted in other states, and has either been enjoined by the courts or is currently being challenged. The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process," said Ortman, adding, "We will continue to monitor developments."

Actress Ashley Bratcher, who lives in Georgia, did not join in on the calls for boycott. Bratcher, who starred as pro-life activist Abby Johnson in the film "Unplanned," wrote a rebuttal to Milano defending the legislation and the sanctity of life. During the filming of Unplanned, Bratcher learned that she was herself nearly aborted.

The Supreme Court found in the 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade that a woman in the United States has a constitutional right to abortion. Since that decision, laws that criminalize abortion prior to fetal viability have typically been overturned as unconstitutional.

The so-called "heartbeat bills" have faced challenges in every state where they have been passed. These legal battles have prompted some pro-life advocates, including Catholic bishops, to withhold endorsing the legislation.

Tennessee's Catholic bishops chose to oppose their state's heartbeat bill over concerns that it would not stand up to judicial scrutiny. They voiced concern that it was an imprudent approach to fighting legal abortion, citing other states where legal challenges to such bills ended up further enshrining a legal "right to abortion" and forcing the state to pay significant sums of money to the lawyers representing the pro-abortion challengers to the laws.

The Georgia law is set to go into effect on January 1, several pro-abortion organizations have promised to challenge it in court.

The entertainment industry also threatened to boycott Georgia should Kemp be elected governor. This boycott did not materialize.

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