A federal appeals court lifted the injunction blocking Georgia’s “heartbeat” abortion ban on Wednesday, which will allow the law to go into effect.
The law prohibits abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat — generally around six weeks — and has been on hold since it was signed in 2019. In its ruling on Wednesday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade means that there is no constitutional right to an abortion, and the law can take effect.
“We vacate the injunction, reverse the judgment in favor of the abortionists, and remand with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the state officials,” wrote Judge William Pryor.
Georgia is a major hub for film and television production, thanks to a 30% tax credit that climbed to $1.2 billion last year — by far the largest incentive offered by any state. Netflix and several other entertainment companies said in 2019 that they would reconsider filming in the state if the ban went into effect. Several celebrities also said they would no longer film in the state.
After the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last month, the studios said they would reimburse travel costs to allow their employees to get an abortion.
The decision on Georgia’s law had been expected since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs. The law’s opponents argued that, notwithstanding Dobbs, the provision granting “personhood” status to fetuses is still unconstitutionally vague. The appeals court rejected that argument.
Several other states that provide filming incentives have also banned abortion or imposed severe restrictions in the wake of the Dobbs ruling, including Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. In Louisiana — another filming hub — a “trigger” ban on abortion has been on hold in the courts.