Some fear economic impact if Georgia's heartbeat bill is passed

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 3, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Georgia's so-called "heartbeat bill," which prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy or when a heartbeat can be detected, is waiting on a signature from Governor Brian Kemp, who has already shown his support for it.

However, some fear that if the bill passes, it could have major economic impacts on the state, putting at risk one of Georgia's leading industries: TV and film.

Since the bill passed in the state House and Senate, dozens of celebrities have threatened to boycott the state. Industry leaders are urging Kemp to veto the bill.

"[The] economic impact will be tremendously felt by everyone," said local filmmaker Roy Kirkland, who is the co-creator of the RKDS film festival, which launched last summer.

He says the bill could jeopardize an industry that brings billions of dollars to the state every year.

"The thought of the big goal that we're reaching to be a part of and to grow here leaving the state is a dismal thought," he said.

But, many are backing the bill.

"We think it's a great step forward in protecting innocent, unborn children," said Becky Deas, the executive director of Options Now, a faith-based non-profit that supports women who experience unplanned pregnancy and guides them through options, including abortion.

She says the bill could lead to more education and conversation.

"At least it gets people talking and informed instead of just agreeing with something that they really just don't have all the facts about," Deas continued.

If the bill passes, it would be one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Lawmakers in several other states, including Florida, are considering similar bills.