Georgia Governor Signs Heartbeat Bill, Dismisses Hollywood Threats

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed HB 481, also known as the “heartbeat bill,” into law yesterday. HB 481 passed the state legislature earlier this spring over the protests of the Hollywood establishment, which frequents the state for its hospitable tax breaks for the film industry. Pro-life advocates have been waiting for the governor’s action.

“Today Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed legislation banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected—I’m grateful for his bold stand to protect life,” Franklin Graham posted on his Facebook yesterday. “Similar bans have recently been signed into law in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Ohio and are being considered in a number of other states. I pray that more states will step up to defend the unborn and not be intimidated by the ACLU or other pro-abortion progressives.

“Gov. Kemp said this bill, ‘is very simple but also very powerful: a declaration that all life has value, that all life matters, and that all life is worthy of protection…our job is to do what is right, not what is easy. We are called to be strong and courageous, and we will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life.’ Thank you Governor Kemp!”

The bill states that “no abortion is authorized or shall be performed if the unborn child has been determined to have a human heartbeat.” HB 481 also allows parents to claim unborn babies as dependents on their taxes and include the unborn child in census data.

“HB 481 may be the most significant pro-life legislation in Georgia history,” said Virginia Galloway, regional director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition. “About 20 percent of all pregnancies in Georgia end in abortion, resulting in over 30,000 deaths each year. This bill will save thousands of lives.”

Hollywood liberals have been protesting the bill for months, calling for a boycott of the state. Last month, actress Alyssa Milano made headlines when she went to the Georgia Capitol building to hand-deliver a letter to Kemp’s office, stating her staunch disapproval of the pro-life bill.

Although Georgia has become a major hub for the film industry, about 50 prominent Hollywood celebrities have followed Milano’s lead in threatening to boycott working in the state if HB 481 becomes law. The Writers Guild of America has also condemned the bill, saying it “would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry.”

Yet Kemp refused to bend to Hollywood’s demands. “I can’t govern because I’m worried about what someone in Hollywood thinks about me,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I ran the last two years on these issues, and I got elected with the largest number of votes in the history of the state of Georgia, and I’m doing what I told people I would do. Our business environment is good. We cannot change our values of who we are for money.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has already announced its intention to sue the state over the legislation.