In the wake of the restrictive abortion bans that keep cropping up around the country, Alyssa Milano is making it easier for studios and filmmakers — at least those that support women and reproductive rights — to find pro-choice places to shoot. The actress and Time’s Up activist has created a guide that breaks down the threats posed to safe and legal abortion state by state. Variety broke the news.
Written with activist Ben Jackson, the guide informs readers of “where it is safe for women to work,” i.e. where legal abortion is most accessible in the country. It also includes a color-coded map of the U.S. that indicates where abortion is most and least under legislative attack. Abortion is “most threatened” in red states, “under threat” in yellow states, and “least threatened” in green states.
“Following the passage of a number of draconian attacks on a pregnant person’s right to choose in 2019, including those in states in which the motion picture and television industries conduct significant business, it has become apparent that those in our industry need to be able to make informed choices,” Milano and Jackson wrote in the report’s mission statement.
Milano decided to create the guide after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed HB 481 into law, banning abortion after six weeks in the state. Since most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant before six weeks, the law effectively bans all abortion in Georgia. Milano, whose Netflix show “Insatiable” shoots in the state, was one of the first people to vow to stop working in Georgia should HB 481 not be struck down in court. Others, such as Reed Morano and Kristen Wiig, have pulled projects from the state and companies including Netflix and Disney have suggested they will reconsider filming future projects in the so-called “Hollywood of the South.”
“I’ve been fielding these inquiries about where productions could shoot [since HB 481 was signed],” Milano revealed. She referenced the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws and the political encyclopedia Ballotpedia while putting the guide together.
The “Charmed” alumna is also working with Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to develop an app location managers and scouts can use to “guarantee [the film industry] can spend money in places [in Georgia] that will not fund voter suppression, inequality, and the stripping away of anyone’s rights.”
“I asked if there was a version we could create with maps to the block of people that support a progressive policy, versus homes that are supporting a hurtful policy,” Milano recalled. “Can we use these to pinpoint in red states where it is safe for productions to spend their money?”
The “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” actress wants to use this type of tech to help support local film industries in progressive, pro-choice regions everywhere, even in states that have the reputation of being conservative.
“The original idea was to prevent Gov. Kemp from signing this bill,” she explained. “We in the entertainment industry pride ourselves on inclusivity, equality, and choice. All of these really symbolic, important things that we understand become a beacon for the country to follow suit.” The app she’s commissioning will hopefully maintain “this very tricky balance of not wanting to ever cause families harm in the state of Georgia, but being aware enough to know that the only thing that changes the state of policy is usually money.”