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Disney May Leave Georgia in Wake of Abortion Law

Disney CEO Bob Iger comments on Georgia abortion ban's potential effect on the film industry

Georgia Abortion Law Breeds Controversy

Earlier this month, the governor of Georgia signed an abortion law many are condemning as harsh. The law limits the procedure to about six weeks after the pregnancy begins. This is a serious reproductive rights issue, since some people do not realize they are pregnant that early. For those who may not know, six weeks of pregnancy is two weeks of a missed period, and not every person has a regular period. That means that someone may discover they’re pregnant significantly after the six-week mark.

Disney CEO Bob Iger comments on Georgia abortion ban's potential effect on the film industry
Disney CEO Bob Iger comments on Georgia abortion ban’s potential effect on the film industry

Reproductive rights activists believe that the ultimate goal of this law is to be challenged up to the Supreme Court. When it gets to the Supreme Court, it is believed that it will be used to reverse Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects the choice to have an abortion. Backing up this belief is the fact other laws limiting reproductive rights have recently been passed in Louisiana, Alabama, Ohio, Utah, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi. If Georgia’s abortion law doesn’t succeed, all of these other laws will try.

What makes Georgia different from the other states listed is that they offer a tax credit to corporations who film in the state. Since corporations are naturally greedy enterprises, more of them have been filming in Georgia of late. According to the MPAA, the film industry is directly responsible for 28,472 jobs in Georgia. However, there are signs that this new law may make those jobs disappear.

Georgia Abortion Law May Lead to Business Retention Problems

Recently, Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, was asked about Disney’s future in the state. He answered that “I rather doubt we will. 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. Right now we are watching it very carefully.” Disney has filmed a few of their Marvel films in Georgia, and this law may force them to change their filming plans.

Abortion is a medical procedure to which people need safe and legal access. Not everyone who becomes pregnant made a choice to be pregnant, or even to have intercourse. Just because someone makes a bad choice, or has their choice taken away from them, doesn’t mean that they deserve to live with the physical ramifications for the rest of their life. More Americans die of pregnancy-related complications than any other developed country. Disney and Netflix are right to reconsider filming if their employees’ lives are at stake.

The Georgia abortion law will not go into effect until 1 January 2020. It may take even longer, since a judge may put an injunction on it as it travels through the courts. Now is not the time to panic.

The controversy around Georgia’s abortion law will likely continue affecting the entertainment industry as this year continues. Word of the Nerd will continue discussing this intersection of law and entertainment.


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Siobhan Dempsey

Siobhan is a 25 year old library professional with an MS in search of her library.

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