Here’s Why Boycotting Georgia Over Abortion Is a Bad Idea

In the aftermath of a draconian anti-abortion law in Georgia, some activists and many in Hollywood have seized on the idea of boycotting the state in protest.

A similar campaign erupted when North Carolina’s legislature pushed a transphobic bathroom bill policy that would have superseded local control, so cities couldn’t pass inclusive restroom ordinances.

In both cases, boycotts may sound like a good idea, especially to those who aren’t familiar with the issues on the ground. But they’re actually the worst way of dealing with situations like these.

First, the logic of the boycotters is states that pass dangerous and misogynistic legislation shouldn’t reap the benefits of business activities. In Georgia, one particularly big industry is film and television, as those of us who stay to the bitter end of film credits are well aware. Some Hollywood executives have specifically made the point that they don’t want to put women on their productions in danger by sending them to a state with such severe abortion restrictions.

The idea of a boycott is to make it so painful and costly to continue engaging in an undesirable activity that it’s just not worth it. And when you’re talking billions of dollars in business brought into a state, that’s a high price.

The problem is the people who pass this legislation aren’t the ones who will pay that price. Instead, low-income Georgians who count on things, such as seasonal film work, will be left high and dry.

One Georgia-based producer noted film has been a vital economic force, especially for small communities. He suggested filmmakers worried about the situation in Georgia should shoot there — and donate some of the proceeds of their films to causes working in Georgia on abortion and other issues.

Lest you think men are the only ones justifying doing business in Georgia, you can hear from some women here.

It’s not just film, of course. Working-class people in Georgia rely on money from the tourism industry, logistics, manufacturing and a range of other trades. Cutting off business will put them out of jobs and may also do some economic harm to the companies they work for — some of which may not be involved in Georgia politics at all.

Effectively, a boycott punishes the people who are least able to do something about the law — some of whom may also have been disenfranchised in the last election. So one might argue that they’re already being punished enough.

Meanwhile, abortion remains legal in Georgia. And this new law, which bans abortion after detectable fetal pole cardiac activity at about six weeks of pregnancy, does not go into effect until January.

Reproductive rights groups are already lining up to challenge it. Fair Fight Georgia, which works on election issues and is attempting to prevent a repeat of Georgia’s latest mockery of democracy, and the ACLU of Georgia both will be on the ground. So are grassroots groups who need support, such as Access Reproductive Care-Southeast and Spark Reproductive Justice.

Rather than pledging to boycott Georgia and speaking ill of the state’s residents, consider the tremendous amount of organizing around reproductive justice happening in Georgia and elsewhere. Although people sometimes work against tremendous odds, they don’t give up. They believe in our collective potential to live in a better world.

Photo credit: Marje/Getty Images

45 comments

Veronica D
Veronica Danie3 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica D
Veronica Danie3 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica D
Veronica Danie3 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Debra G
Debra G3 days ago

Heather B, the problem with letting Georgians “decide their fates by going to the polls and exercising their power” is there clearly has been voter suppression and manipulation in GA. The current governor, Kemp, was the Secretary of State during the election and who managed to close many polling places, limit voting times, purge voter rolls (thousands of eligible voters were purged illegally), gerrymander the hell out of the state, and allow faulty voting machines to be used without a paper trail. The boycott has been overshadowed by the even more egregious anti-choice shenanigans in Alabama. It’s time for the little folks being hurt economically by a boycott to see that their voting against their best interests has severe consequences. We need an informed electorate, not a bunch of talibangical sheep.

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Steve F
Steve F4 days ago

Update, in case anyone is back here. The boycott has fizzled. Some minor production companies have signed up, but major companies are proceeding with their filming plans. The Georgia subsidies are too attractive to pass up. As usual, money talks, BS walks

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Kenny Wes
Kenny Wes5 days ago

Abortion is gross no matter what your political stripes. Elections have consequences. Want to have legal abortions? stop winning and take back those red states. These new laws could make that happen, a great opportunity for Democrats.

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn5 days ago

Noted

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Danuta W
Danuta Watola5 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O5 days ago

The only possible reason to forbid abortion is because people want to have an endless supply of poor children. Cheap labour.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O5 days ago

This state should do better.

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