×

Alyssa Milano Authors Comprehensive State-By-State Abortion Bill Guide for Filmmakers (EXCLUSIVE)

In response to the introduction of multiple “heartbeat bills” across the country, actress and advocate Alyssa Milano has created a shoot location tool for filmmakers that lists the status of abortion legislation in all 50 states. The bills have caused uproar in Hollywood and inspired boycotts in production-heavy states like Georgia.

“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 activist co-author Ben Jackson said in a mission statement accompanying the report.

The survey, published exclusively with Variety, is meant to help actors, producers, directors and studios decide “where it is safe for women to work.”

In April, Milano was entrenched in a star-fronted effort to move Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to reject his state’s heartbeat bill (HB 481), which Kemp ultimately signed in May. Milano currently resides in Georgia, where the Netflix original “Insatiable” shoots. After Kemp signed the legislation, the actress vowed she would leave her show if the bill was not struck down by a higher court, and if Netflix continued to shoot in the state. The streaming giant, which also films additional shows like the cultural sensation “Stranger Things” in Georgia, said that it would reconsider all of its investment in the state if the bill is signed into law.

“Since then, I’ve been fielding these inquiries about where productions could shoot,” Milano said of calls and messages she’s received from friends across show business. Her state-by-state document is the result of a month of research, enlisting the National Assn. for the Repeal of Abortion Laws and the political encyclopedia Ballotpedia as primary sources.

Chief among the offerings is a map of the country that color-codes states as “most threatened,” “under threat,” or “least threatened” by restrictive abortion laws.

In Colorado, for instance, productions get a 20% tax credit on qualified expenditures as long as 50% of crew members are state residents. Colorado also has no major pending abortion laws or existing bans, so that state gets a “least threatened” grade. Florida, on the other hand, has introduced the notion of a six-week abortion ban and currently has no tax incentive for film and TV. The survey looks exclusively at abortion law, though other human rights issues like LGBTQ equality have previously threatened production in places like North Carolina.

Milano is also in early discussions with Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to develop a mobile app for location managers and scouts in Georgia, one that would “guarantee we can spend money in places that will not fund voter suppression, inequality and the stripping away of anyone’s rights.”

The app in consideration is similar in spirit to political app MiniVAN, a tool used in voter canvassing that helps campaigns track citizens’ political affiliation down to the city block and specific residence.

“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. Can we use these to pinpoint in red states where it is safe for productions to spend their money? She thought it was a brilliant idea,” Milano said.

Bottoms is said to be vetting voter data from her own election to map the city of Atlanta, and is encouraging local tech companies to engage.

“A woman’s health care decisions should remain between her, her doctor and her maker. Atlanta has a robust tech community that could potentially assist with leveraging the kind of data and information Alyssa is discussing,” Bottoms told Variety.

The idea for the app came to Milano when she was shooting an episode of “Insatiable” this month, about 90 minutes outside of the “blue pocket” of Atlanta.

“I walk into this house that someone owns and rents out for production, and in front of the sink is a ‘Brian Kemp for Governor’ kitchen mat,’ she said, “So I think to myself, every time we shoot on location outside of Atlanta, we are funding a hurtful policy.”

Milano estimates that “Insatiable” producers spent $30,000 for two days on that shoot — money she’d like to see go to Georgia residents aligned with pro-choice thinking — which is also in line with the fact that “70 percent of the country who believe in safe, legal abortions,” she said.

Milano is supportive of the local film industry and hopes to find a productive way to help save jobs in the state and at the same time protect women’s reproductive rights.

“The original idea was to prevent Gov. Kemp from signing this bill,” said the actress. “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,” she concluded, noting that her research helps serve “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.”

Read the report: 

More TV

  • Al Burton

    Al Burton, 'Jeffersons' and 'Diff’rent Strokes' Producer, Dies at 91

    Television producer and executive Al Burton, known for his work on “The Jeffersons” and “Diff’rent Strokes,” died Tuesday at his home in San Mateo, California. He was 91. Burton leaves behind a six-decade legacy of hit television shows that also included “One Day at a Time,” “Silver Spoons,” “Square Pegs” and “Facts of Life.” However, long [...]

  • Dwyane Wade Sets Multi-Year Development Deal

    Dwyane Wade Sets Multi-Year Development Deal at WarnerMedia

    Dwayne Wade is bouncing his way into WarnerMedia’s court. The retired NBA All Star has signed a multi-faceted, multi-year deal with the company, including a development deal via his 59th & Prairie Entertainment production banner. Part of the deal sees Wade sign on as a commentator at Turner Sports. He is set to make appearances [...]

  • Katie Couric Sheryl Sandberg

    Katie Couric Steamrolls Sheryl Sandberg in Roving Vanity Fair Summit Interview

    Sending a jolt through a luxurious and excessively polite afternoon in Beverly Hills, veteran journalist Katie Couric delivered a relentless series of hardball questions to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday. Speaking in conversation at the sixth annual Vanity Fair New Establishment summit at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Couric’s [...]

  • EVIL is a psychological mystery that

    CBS Renews 'Evil,' Orders Full Seasons of Four Other Freshman Shows

    CBS is doubling down on all its new shows. The network has renewed “Evil” for a second season, and handed out full-season orders to its other four freshman series, namely “All Rise,” “Carol’s Second Act,” “The Unicorn,” and “Bob Hearts Abishola.” “Evil” is set to conclude its 13-episode first season (creators Michelle and Robert King [...]

  • Jamie Lee Curtis

    Jamie Lee Curtis to Produce Military Drama With Put Pilot Order at Fox

    Jamie Lee Curtis is teaming up with April Fitzsimmons and Berlanti Productions for a drama project that has received a put pilot order at Fox. Titled “Chain of Command,” the one-hour project follows a young Air Force investigator with radical crime-solving methodology who returns to her hometown to join a military task force that doesn’t [...]

  • Michael MannLACMA: Art and Film Gala,

    TV News Roundup: Michael Mann to Direct and Executive Produce HBO Max's 'Tokyo Vice'

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO Max names MIchael Mann as a director and executive producer of “Tokyo Vice” and Chip and Joanna Gaines announce the first original series coming to the couple’s Magnolia Network. DATES Netflix announced a six-episode docuseries centered on Nasty Cherry, the latest all-female group signed to Charli XCX’s label will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content