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Kirsten Gillibrand Targets Hollywood Women in Fundraiser Amid Abortion Uproar

Kirsten Gillibrand Power of Women
Aurora Rose/Variety/REX/Shutters

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand held a fundraiser targeting women in the entertainment community on Wednesday night amid a growing uproar over the spread of abortion bans across the South.

After some hesitation, major studios have begun to speak out against a fetal “heartbeat” bill in Georgia — one of nine states to pass new restrictions on abortion this year. Louisiana, another home to significant film production, is poised to approve its own bill placing more restrictions on abortion.

On Thursday, WarnerMedia joined Disney and Netflix in saying it would reconsider filming in Georgia if the law is upheld. Companies that might have once feared offending a major portion of their audiences are responding instead to pressure from their own employees.

“There’s been a shift in the last two years,” Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, said in an interview prior to the fundraiser. “Whereas you might have protected your company or your persona or your non-partisan nature, people have left that behind and are now willing to speak out for what they believe in.”

Gillibrand attended a fundraiser on Wednesday at the home of producer Amy Baer, the president of Women in Film. The event was organized by the L.A. Women’s Collective, a political action committee of women drawn largely from Hollywood. The committee, which Gillibrand helped put together, has raised funds for female candidates at the state and local levels across the country.

Gillibrand has been among the most outspoken presidential candidates on abortion, traveling to Atlanta to protest the heartbeat bill and saying she would impose a pro-choice litmus test on Supreme Court nominees.

She has also expressed openness to changing the number of Supreme Court justices, and has said she would consider term limits.

“This president has succeeded in politicizing the court,” she said. “I will look for ways to depoliticize the Supreme Court.”

The senator declined to weigh in on whether studios should abandon Georgia if the abortion law, which is set to take effect in 2020, is upheld. Activists in Georgia have said a boycott would hurt the women it is meant to help, while doing nothing to change the minds of pro-life lawmakers.

“I think the industry will decide whether they want to use that tool or not, but I know that women’s voices are more powerful than anything,” Gillibrand said. She offered one alternative to boycotting: “Stay and invest in elections locally to unseat this radical conservative legislature that doesn’t value women.”

“I always prefer the direct ballot-box approach,” she added.