AMC threatens to pull 'The Walking Dead' out of Georgia over abortion law
Georgia offers companies a 30% tax credit to film projects locally, which has created a thriving entertainment industry. The state supports an estimated 92,000 jobs in production, attracting major movies and TV shows such as The Hunger Games, Stranger Things, and multiple Marvel superhero movies. However, more than half a dozen companies said they would "reevaluate" their investment due to the Peach State's draconian anti-abortion law.
Last month, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed the controversial "fetal heartbeat" bill, which outlaws abortion when a "fetal heartbeat" is detected. Since embryos do not have hearts, that "heartbeat" is actually electric cardiac activity. Typically that activity is detected at the six week point, when the embryo is about the size of a pea, and many do women do not know they are pregnant yet.
Watch Busy Philipps speak out against Georgia's controversial abortion law
Georgia's law is blatantly unconstitutional, as abortion has been a safe, legal procedure for 46 years. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution's right to privacy protects a woman's right to seek an abortion; therefore, states must not place an "undue burden" on them. But that's precisely what Georgia, and handful of other red states are doing, in hope that the legal battles provoke today's right-leaning Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade.
On Wednesday, AMC Networks became the latest conglomerate to pledge a "reevaluation" in wake of Georgia's extremist law. "If this highly restrictive legislation goes into effect, we will reevaluate our activity in Georgia," AMC said in a statement to CBS News. "Similar bills - some even more restrictive - have passed in multiple states and have been challenged. This is likely to be a long and complicated fight and we are watching it all very closely."
AMC's zombie apocalypse show, The Walking Dead has been shot in Georgia for ten seasons. The show is getting a bit long in the tooth, but is still extremely popular, and the producers appear to have no end in sight.
If the network pulls the show out of Georgia, the state could potentially lose multiple seasons of production. That would certainly affect the Peach State's entertainment business, which reportedly pulls in $2.7 billion in direct spending.
"If you look at the statements these companies' CEOs are making, they aren't taking a clear stance or making a clear decision that's decisive," BAM Communications founder Beck Bamberger told CBS. She added that "from a logistical standpoint, it would be a nightmare" to relocate production to another state.
The Georgia abortion law, like others, has not gone into effect yet, and is certain to be challenged legally. Studios will likely be watching closely to see how things play out in the months going forward.
Of course, Georgia is not the only belle at the ball. Other states such as Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey and Mexico also offer lucrative tax credits with a low cost of living - and zero outrageous anti-abortion laws.