Disney isn’t one to get political, but there are exceptions. The company has announced that it may back out of filming in Georgia after the recent abortion ban was implemented in the state. It’s not alone though, as Netflix and WarnerMedia have also given warning that they’re considering finding new filming locations over the new law as well. The abortion ban, which was voted in by Georgia lawmakers last month, has been highly controversial in the press following its decision. A move to find a new filming location by companies like Disney, Netflix, and WarnerMedia could simply be a move to avoid criticism in the future.
Filming In Georgia
Georgia is one of the many states that offers tax incentives to production companies that opt to film within its state lines. For Disney, it provided a place to film blockbuster hit movies like Black Panther and Avengers Endgame in recent years. However, the recent implementation of the “heartbeat” law has stirred the pot when it comes to offering a controversy-free production. Disney’s head honcho, CEO Robert Iger, said to Reuters recently that the company would have to rethink filming in the state when the law goes into effect in January 2020, if it makes it that far. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard,” Iger said to Reuters.
While Disney’s statement has provided support for the protest against the bill, Netflix has vowed to work with human rights organizations to do all they can to put a stop to the bill, in addition to pulling out of filming future projects within the state. “We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” said the chief content officer for Netflix, Ted Sarandos in a statement to CNN. “should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia,” he continued.
The “Heartbeat” Law
Even if the move would simply be to avoid conflict with production workers, the support from companies like Disney are what push lawmakers to make vital decisions when it comes to these laws. The “heartbeat” law, if put into effect, would ban abortion in almost all cases once a heartbeat can be detected. The only case in which a woman would be allowed to abort her child would be if her pregnancy created a life threatening health risk if carried to full term. In addition to virtually banning abortion, since a heartbeat can usually be detected after just a couple of weeks, the law would make it possible for women who illegally go through with an abortion to face serious prison time for going through with the procedure.
Critics have called the ban barbaric, as it limits bodily autonomy among women and renders them incapable of making major life decisions on their own. In cases of rape and incest, the victim would be forced to carry the pregnancy to term—even if the victim is as young as 12 years old. Organizations like the ACLU have been hard at work fighting the bill, which was carefully planned by the Republican Party as a way of taking advantage of the majority Republican presence in Washington during this Presidential term.