Federal judge blocks Georgia abortion law, which sparked film boycott threats
A federal judge has temporarily blocked Georgia’s controversial new abortion law, legislation that earlier this year prompted several filmmakers and studios to threaten to stop production in the state if it went into effect.
In March, Georgia joined a growing number of states passing restrictive “heartbeat bills,” which would essentially ban abortion in the state as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Georgia has long been a hotbed of film and TV production, and when Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the abortion law in May, several Hollywood producers, filmmakers, and studios spoke out in opposition, threatening to boycott future production there.
This summer, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and others filed a constitutional challenge to the abortion law, and on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that U.S. District Judge Steve Jones had officially issued a temporary block, declaring that the state’s current laws governing abortion would remain in effect for the time being.
According to the AP, Jones wrote that the law violated Supreme Court precedents, which “repeatedly and unequivocally” held that a state cannot ban abortion before an embryo or fetus is viable, and that the constitutional challenge of the new law is likely to succeed.
Before Jones’ block, the law was scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1. In a statement to the AP, a spokesperson for the governor’s office vowed to review the judge’s decision, saying they remained “confident in our position” and “will continue to fight for the unborn.”
Hollywood opposition to the law varied, ranging from plans to boycott to promises to donate proceeds to the ACLU. Film and TV production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 local jobs, per the Motion Picture Association, and major studios like Disney and Netflix were among the those that vowed to reconsider filming in Georgia if the law went into effect.