Tracee Ellis Ross, Gabrielle Union & Tessa Thompson Among Actors Protesting Controversial Georgia Abortion Bill

April 1, 2019  |  

Tracee Ellis Ross, Gabrielle Union, Tessa Thompson

Source: Sheri Determan/FayesVision/Dave Bedrosian/Future Image/WENN

Forces in Hollywood are fighting back with economic power to protest a controversial abortion bill which recently passed in Georgia’s legislature on Friday.

The “fetal heartbeat bill” or formally, the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act” (HB 481) would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can take place as early as weeks 20 into pregnancy, according to the Associated Press.

The measure passed the by 92 votes, just one vote more than the majority threshold needed to pass out of the 180-member House, the AP reports.

It is one of the most restrictive abortion bills to pass and is expected to be signed into law by the state’s newly elected Governor, Brian Kemp. As you may recall, Kemp ran against Stacey Abrams in a contentious gubernatorial race last fall.

The bill is a direct departure from the state’s current abortion policy, which allows women to undergo an abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The only exception is for victims of incest and rape, who would still be allowed to undergo an abortion up to 20 weeks, if a formal police report can be produced, and or to save the life of the mother.

Abortion rights activists also signal to a larger fear that the bill could trigger a Supreme Court hearing to overlook federal protections for abortions, most notably Roe vs. Wade, the landmark legislation which established a woman’s right to a legal abortion.

After news spread of the bill passing the vote, Abrams tweeted the following:

“With one horrible exception, Georgia didn’t jeopardize stability, opportunity and leadership for dangerous legislation that treats the lives of women as political pawns.”

“I’ve spoken to Republicans and business leaders (not necessarily the same thing) in the last few days who dismiss the harm of #HB481 as overwrought or, more simply, irrelevant. Because women’s healthcare isn’t their concern. Besides, they say, the courts will stop it,” Abrams wrote.

The legislation created a strong sense of concern among Hollywood’s top movers and shakers, who are threatening to pull production processes in Georgia, a state which has serve as a filming hub for multiple blockbuster movies and shows. Georgia is now the third largest production center behind California and New York.

According to Kemp who shared numbers an event last month, the film industry employs 200,000 Georgians and brings in more than $60 billion of economic revenue for the state, CBS News reports.

A memo by the Writer’s Guild Association, petitioned by actress Alyssa Milano, includes a group of over 100 actors who signed their names in protest if Governor Kemp signs the bill into law. Among them were several actors and actresses of color including Uzo Udobo, Tracee Elliss Ross, Gabrielle Union, Rashida Jones, Zoe Kravitz and Don Cheadle.

Milano tweeted a full list of all the actors and Hollywood personas who are against the bill.

The state also faces a legal battle from the ACLU of Georgia, who have promised to challenge the bill in court and challenges from reputable medical associations including the  Medical Association of Georgia and the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians.

Mississippi and Kentucky have recently signed similar legislation into law, though they have struggled with ways successfully implement it. And lawmakers in Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina and Ohio have eyed similar legislation to bring to the table.

The bill will undoubtedly have devastating effects on Black women and women from undeserved communities. The infant mortality death rate in Georgia is one of the highest in the nation, a health crisis which routinely affects the lives of Black women who continue to die due to insufficient medical attention during and after their pregnancies.

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