Netflix Backs Lawsuit Overturning Georgia Abortion Ban, Will Leave State if Babies are Protected

National   Steven Ertelt   May 28, 2019   |   5:07PM    Washington, DC

The online media giant Netflix may move out of Georgia if the state succeeds in protecting unborn babies from abortions.

On Tuesday, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the company supports a legal challenge against Georgia’s new heartbeat law, WTHR News 13 reports. If the courts allow Georgia to enforce the law, however, Netflix may stop its protections there, Sarandos said.

“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Sarandos in a statement to CNBC.

He said the company is working with the ACLU and other abortion advocacy groups to fight the law.

“Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there — while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia,” he said.

Netflix would be the first major filming group to boycott the pro-life state, Fox Business reports. Actress Alyssa Milano has been pushing for a boycott for months, but, until now, only a few small film and TV projects have stopped working there.

Here’s more from the report:

The streaming service is the first major studio to take a stand on the controversial abortion bill that prompted several Hollywood stars to threaten to boycott the state. Netflix has filmed several projects in Georgia, including “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Stranger Things,” the first two seasons of “Queer Eye” and “Ozark.”

… At least two projects have already reconsidered filming in Georgia since Gov. Brian Kemp signed House Bill 481 into law earlier this month, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “Handmaid’s Tale” director Reed Morano immediately stopped scouting locations in the Peach State for her Amazon series “The Power” following the May 7 signing of the bill.

The upcoming comedy, “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” by Kirsten Wiig and Annie Mumolo, also pulled out of filming in Georgia.

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Georgia is a popular filming location for TV and movies because of tax breaks.

Earlier this spring, dozens of liberal celebrities, including “Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill, said they plan boycott the state because of the heartbeat law. It is unclear if they will follow through with the threat, though. Milano also is urging women to go on a “sex strike” to protest.

Some companies opposed the pro-life measure as well, including Amazon.com and Coca-Cola Co., The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports.

Despite these threats, Gov. Brian Kemp signed the heartbeat bill into law earlier this month.

The Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act would ban abortions on an unborn baby after their heartbeat is detectable, around six weeks. It would allow exceptions for rape, incest and threats to the mother’s life. In addition, the bill would allow parents to claim unborn babies as dependents on their taxes and include the unborn baby in census data. It also would allow mothers to collect child support for pregnancy and delivery costs from the father prior to the baby’s birth.

The ACLU said it will sue to block the law in court.

Kemp commented on the Hollywood boycotts earlier this month.

“I understand that some folks don’t like this new law. I’m fine with that,” the pro-life governor told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We’re elected to do what’s right – and standing up for precious life is always the right thing to do. We are the party of freedom and opportunity. We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.”

Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

Recently, a federal judge blocked Kentucky’s new heartbeat bill. In January, a judge also declared Iowa’s heartbeat law unconstitutional. North Dakota and Arkansas passed heartbeat bills several years ago, but federal courts struck down their laws as well.

There is more hope that the U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain.

ACTION ALERT: Contact Netflix.