In about six months, one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country is set to go in effect in Georgia. Signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, the law would ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. While not as punitive as the Alabama abortion law, which would punish doctors who perform abortions with up to 99 years in prison, anyone who performs an abortion in Georgia could face up to a decade in prison. Barring any legal challenges, the bill is set to go into effect in January 2020.
The bill has already generated considerable controversy. Because of the number of film and television productions set in Georgia, Hollywood studios — which directly contributed $2.7 billion and thousands of jobs to the Georgia economy in 2017 — have been called upon to boycott the state. It has already been effective in some instances. Ilana Glazer stopped a movie from filming there, and Kristen Wiig has pulled the production of her upcoming movie out of Georgia. Several other celebrities, including Amy Schumer, Jason Bateman, and Mark Duplass, have also vowed not to produce their films in Georgia, despite their advantageous tax incentives.
Meanwhile, a number of big hitters are also starting to weigh in. The CEO of Disney, Bob Igor stated that Disney — which owns Marvel Studios, which filmed Infinity War and Black Panther in Georgia — would reconsider filming there, as it would no longer be “practical for us to continue” if the bill is implemented. Netflix’s Ted Sarandos also stated that, should be law be implemented, the studio would “rethink” their investment in the state.
AMC has now finally weighed in, as well, and it’s is a big deal considering that The Walking Dead television series is the production perhaps most associated with the state. The Walking Dead has been produced out of Georgia for the last decade, and though the series is now set in Virginia, it remains synonymous with the location where it was originally set, in and around Atlanta. An AMC spokesperson, however, released a statement similar to that of Disney and Netflix:
“If this highly restrictive legislation goes into effect, we will reevaluate our activity in Georgia. 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.”
While it is obviously supportive to announce intentions to leave if the Georgia abortion law goes into effect, none of these studios will likely be confronted with a decision anytime soon. The law will be challenged in court, and it will almost certainly get stuck in the legal system until the Supreme Court makes a final decision about this and similar laws being passed around the country. Considering that the Supreme Court declined to take up the issue of Roe v. Wade earlier this week, it could be another year or longer before the Court finally weighs in.
In the meantime, should AMC decide to get a jump on the issue, it could relocate its production to Austin, Texas — where Fear the Walking Dead is currently filmed — or Virginia, where the second spin-off is set to begin production this summer.
(Via The Wrap)