Alyssa Milano, Georgia film workers demand Kemp veto ‘heartbeat’ bill

Actress Alyssa Milano and about 30 Georgia film workers traveled to the Georgia Capitol on Tuesday to hand deliver a letter urging Gov. Brian Kemp to veto restrictive anti-abortion legislation.

Milano, who films her Netflix dark pageant comedy "Insatiable" in Atlanta, has publicly opposed House Bill 481, which would outlaw most abortions in Georgia as soon as a doctor detects a "heartbeat."

“We are going to do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if HB 481 becomes law,” Milano said.

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Milano is under contract and has to continue filming in Georgia.

The Georgia General Assembly approved the legislation last week and Kemp is expected to sign it this month.

"I can't govern because I'm worried about what someone in Hollywood thinks about me," Kemp told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview. "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."

HB 481 would outlaw most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy — before many women realize they are pregnant — when a “heartbeat’ is detected.

The sound is a source of dispute. Setzler and supporters of the bill say it should be used to establish when life begins. Doctors who oppose the legislation, however, say what sounds like a heartbeat at six weeks signals the practice motions of developing tissues that could not on their own power a fetus without the mother.

April 2, 2019 Atlanta - Actress Alyssa Milano enters Governor Brian Kemp Office to deliver her letter to the Governor urging to oppose the heartbeat bill during the last day of legislation at the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.  HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM


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Under the proposal, women still would be able to get later abortions in cases of rape, incest, if the life of the mother is in danger or in instances of “medical futility,” when a fetus would not be able to survive after birth.

Someone who has become pregnant after an incident of rape or incest would have to file a police report to have the abortion performed.

Phoebe Brown, a 20-year Atlanta resident who has owned a prop company for the past three years, said Tuesday that her livelihood relies on the film industry.

If the industry left, “we would probably have to close our business,” Brown said. “We need a really high volume of business to stay and business, and if there’s no productions to rent to, we can’t survive.”

Before the legislation passed, more than 60 Georgia film and crew members sent an open letter to production companies HBO, Sony, Disney, Universal Pictures, Marvel and Netflix to publicly oppose the "heartbeat" abortion bill.

Georgia has become a hub for the film industry, after it passed the most generous tax credit in the country in terms of direct payouts.

Former Gov. Nathan Deal’s office said in August that a record 455 productions were shot in Georgia in the last fiscal year, garnering a record $9.5 billion economic impact and $2.7 billion in direct spending.

While in Kemp's office, Douglas Republican state Rep. Dominic LaRiccia questioned why Milano was there if she lives out of state.

Milano said, “These are the men that are voting on what goes on inside my uterus.”

Earlier in the day, House Democrats delivered more than 700 letters from people who oppose the legislation.

Staff reporter Greg Bluestein contributed to this report.