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Georgia senator shrugs at his state losing film business over abortion law

"Rhetoric is more important than the reality," Sen. David Perdue declared on Monday.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) speaks to reporters in the Senate Basement before a weekly policy luncheon on April 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) speaks to reporters in the Senate Basement before a weekly policy luncheon on April 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

After Georgia’s governor signed an unconstitutional law last week that would ban nearly all abortions in his state, an array of film companies and actors have vowed to boycott. But Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) said Monday that this is fine by him and his state.

The law, passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), would outlaw nearly all abortions after a physician can first detect cardiac activity — which can occur as early as six weeks’ gestation, before many people even know about their pregnancies. Though this so-called “heartbeat ban” clearly violates the precedents set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Georgia and a handful of other states are hoping that the high court’s new conservative majority will overturn those rulings.

In the wake of the legislation’s passage, at least three independent film studios and several prominent actors have announced they will boycott Georgia, which is home to a burgeoning film production industry. But on Fox News on Monday, Perdue suggested that this does not matter because the voters are really against abortion.

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“I have a feeling if this were happening in my state in South Carolina the voters there or the people who live there would say babies are more important than Hollywood coming to our state. We don’t care if they choose not to be here. Is Georgia similar?” asked Fox and Friends host Ainsley Earhardt.

Perdue replied, “I think this vote shows that. This is not a radical right or liberal left issue here in Georgia, it’s a moral issue and I think the people of Georgia have spoken.”

“Georgia does more traditional movie production than any other state including California,” he noted, pointing to the corporate welfare incentives the state gives to movie-makers and the state’s many sound stages.

Perdue also suggested that because some of those now boycotting the state had not yet made movies in the state, their actions were empty gestures. “Rhetoric is more important than reality.”

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With deep red states moving to restrict abortion rights and roll back protections for LGBTQ people in recent years, economic boycotts have increasingly been used as a tool to push those states to reconsider. Following economic backlash and company boycotts, then-Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) in 2015 signed a law rolling back part of an anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” law, and Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) in 2017 signed a partial repeal of his state’s anti-LGBTQ law.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified a Supreme Court case.