Gov. Edwards signs heartbeat bill into law, reacts to boycott threats over anti-abortion laws

Published: May. 30, 2019 at 6:42 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -Governor John Bel Edwards wasted no time signing a bill that creates Louisiana’s new anti-abortion heartbeat law.

Edwards signed SB 184 Thursday (May 30) after making a morning stop in New Orleans.

The measure won final legislative approval a day earlier at the state Capitol. It prohibits abortions in Louisiana when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Pro-choice forces in the state call the new law an attack on women. And now opposition to such laws in Louisiana and some other politically conservative states are prompting calls for boycotts from some big names in the entertainment industry.

NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote an op-ed titled, “Why We Must Boycott States with New Abortion Bans."

In it, Jabbar suggested boycotts get the attention of those who spark them.

"Boycotts cause hardships to the innocent as well as the guilty. That's the whole point. Hardships motivate the self-righteous leaders to face the consequences of their political greed,” wrote Jabbar.

And movers and shakers in the movie industry are threatening action, too.

A Netflix executive said the company would rethink its investment in Georgia which recently enacted its own heartbeat law. It is similar to Louisiana’s new law.

And Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said it would be very difficult to continue filming in Georgia if the law takes effect.

Additionally, some national organizations are discussing whether to only hold conventions in states that protect abortion rights.

FOX 8 News asked Governor Edwards if he was concerned about the state possibly being punished over the heartbeat bill.

"I don’t have any concerns and if you just look at the history of Louisiana going back to 2006 we’ve actually had a law on the books more restrictive than the one that was passed off the House floor yesterday, so I don’t know why the industry would take a different approach now than they’ve taken since 2006,” Edwards said.

Trey Burvant, President of the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association issued the following statement only hours before the governor signed the bill into law:

"We are monitoring similar developments on the national level and remain in contact with our industry and studio partners. We maintain a high level of optimism that due to a prolonged legal process ahead on multiple fronts, it could take years for this bill to become law. Until such time, it is business as usual for an industry that supports 7,500 jobs and $325 million in earnings for our residents,” reads the statement.

The tourism entity, New Orleans and Company also reacted to the new anti-abortion law.

“We appreciate and respect all opinions regarding this issue.

New Orleans has always stood for and provided hospitality to everyone. Our city is known the world over for its 300-year-history of welcoming all visitors with an inclusive attitude that accepts and values diversity, tolerance, the pursuits of personal freedoms and the joys of life. It is in the way we celebrate all these things that makes New Orleans unique.

While our hospitality industry does not control our state’s legislative process, votes of the state’s citizens or the laws passed by our government, it can influence the way our visitors feel when they visit our city. We will continue to work as hard as we always have to ensure that all our visitors enjoy experiences in New Orleans that will leave them with fond, life-long memories of their visit, regardless of their respective personal ideals,” said a statement from the agency.

The talk of boycotts aside, another major insider in Louisiana’s film industry said he believes the amount of financial incentives that states offer will continue to be a big carrot for film producers.

Edwards, a pro-life Democrat up for reelection in a deep-red state said actions taken by Louisiana should not be based on whether there will be threats of boycotts.

"Besides we can’t allow those concerns to interfere with doing what we believe the people of Louisiana want us to do and those things that are in accord with our deeply held convictions such as this particular issue,” Edwards stated.

Louisiana’s fetal heartbeat bill will only take effect if a federal appeals court upholds a similar law in Mississippi.

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