After film productions have threatened to boycott Georgia over a controversial new abortion law, US Sen. David Perdue says he doesn’t think the bill will pose a risk to his state’s economy.
In comments made to Fox News on Monday, Perdue said that he’s not concerned about the prospect of production companies leaving the state. He said that Georgia’s business outlook was strong and cited a recent study that said “Georgia is rated for the sixth year in the row as the best state in the country in which to do business.” The trade publication Site Selection gave Georgia that designation again in November.
A big reason for the state’s economic success was due to the fact that “Georgia does more traditional movie production than any other state including California,” Perdue added.
Perdue’s comments come after three production companies said they wouldn’t film in Georgia. Blown Deadline Productions, which headed by the creator as well as the Heads of Killer Films and Duplass Brothers Productions, have recently said they’d look to shoot in other states, and were encouraging colleagues to do the same.
Perdue is unmoved by the threat. “It’s ironic that several of these companies that are threatening to boycott have yet to do business in Georgia,” he said. “It just shows that rhetoric is more important than reality.”
CNN reached out to Perdue’s office but his spokeswoman said there would be no comment on the record beyond the senator’s remarks in the interview.
The Writers Guild of America has expressed concern about the law and the Motion Picture Association of America says it monitoring the situation to see if a lawsuit to block it is successful.
Opposing the new law, Actress Alyssa Milano, who’s currently wrapping a shoot in Georgia for a Netflix show, posted an open letter to lawmakers co-signed by dozens of actors, including Don Cheadle, David Cross, Rosie O’Donnell, and Ben Stiller.
“We cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if HB 481 becomes law,” the letter said.
The abortion law is part of an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade
Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill, HB 481, which bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, last Tuesday. In most pregnancies, a baby’s heartbeat can be detected around the six-week mark. In signing the bill, he fulfilled a key campaign promise to voters he made as he sought governor’s mansion last year.
Perdue said Monday that he supports pro-life policies.
“Life is precious and we’re called to protect it at any stage, as long as it’s there.” he said during the Fox interview. “This is not a radical right or a liberal left issue here in Georgia. It’s a moral issue and I think the people of Georgia have spoken.”
But before the bill goes into effect January 1, 2020, it’s likely to face challenges to its constitutionality. Federal courts have overturned heartbeat bills in Iowa and North Dakota. But conservative lawmakers continue to push the bills.
Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky, and Arkansas have also passed heartbeat bills this year, as part of a bid to bring up abortion before the Supreme Court. The high court has long held that the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade grants women the right to abortion.
Correction: The headline of this story has been updated to reflect that Georgia's abortion bill has not been deemed unconstitutional.