On Tuesday, Republican Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed one of the most extreme abortion laws in America. Measure HB 481 aims to ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is typically around six weeks, when the embryo is the size of a sweet pea. Reproductive advocates and doctors say the law amounts to a "forced pregnancy" bill, since many women do not know they are pregnant until after six weeks. (An embryo isn't even considered a fetus until the 9th or 11th week.)
What's more, the bill assigns legal recognition of personhood to embryos/fetuses older than six weeks. That means women who terminate their pregnancies past that point could face the possibility of punishment for murder, such as life imprisonment or capital punishment. It's quite controversial, since the Supreme Court clearly rejected the notion of a fetus as a person in their landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, which has settled law for nearly half a century. (There are exceptions in HB 481 for rape and incest, but only if a woman fills out a police report.)
Several Democratic politicians strongly protested the bill, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Stacey Abrams, Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "“6 weeks pregnant” = 2 weeks late on your period," tweeted Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. "Most of the men writing these bills don’t know the first thing about a woman’s body outside of the things they want from it. It’s relatively common for a woman to have a late period + not be pregnant. So this is a backdoor ban."Watch Busy Philipps speak out against Georgia's abortion bill and share her experience at 15
Hollywood stars are also speaking out. Busy Philipps, who hosts Busy Tonight on E!, condemned the bill, and shared her emotional experience with terminating a pregnancy as a teenager. "I had an abortion when I was 15 years old, and I'm telling you this because I'm genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country," Philipps said. "And I think that we all need to be talking more and sharing our stories more."
Philipps added: "No bill that criminalizes abortion will stop anyone from making this incredibly personal choice, but these laws will put more women at risk. Every woman deserves compassion and care, not judgment and interference when it comes to their own bodies... Women and their doctors are in the best position to make informed decisions about what is best for them. Nobody else, nobody."
Alyssa Milano, Don Cheadle, Zoe Kravitz, Christina Applegate, Alec Baldwin and dozens of other actors signed a letter denouncing the bill. They also threatened to boycott working the Peach State, which is home to several lucrative television and movie productions. According to The Hollywood Reporter, two production companies have already pledged not to film in Georgia anymore, so long as the law exists. (David Simon's Blown Deadline Productions and Christine Vachon's Killer Films.)
Critics say Hollywood shouldn't boycott Georgia, because the governor already signed the bill into law; therefore, a boycott would mostly hurt the little people that work in production. But nevertheless, it could send a strong message to the governor, by hurting the state where it hurts, financially. (An enormous number of TV shows and movies have been filmed in Georgia, including The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, The Hunger Games, Ozark, The Vampire Diaries Guardians Of The Galaxy and Spider-Man.)