Local LGBTQ activists and lawmakers have penned an open letter to business leaders across Georgia demanding they keep HB 481, the “heartbeat” six-week abortion bill moving through the Georgia legislature, from passing.

State House Representatives Park Cannon, Renitta Shannon, Karla Drenner, Sam Park, and Matthew Wilson, as well as Don Lovingood, the Chair of the LGBTQ Caucus of the Democratic Party of Georgia; Jeff Graham, the Executive Director of Georgia Equality; and Edie Cofrin, a HRC Foundation Board Member, all signed the letter addressing Georgia employers, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, requesting they speak out against HB 481.

“When it mattered most, you stood up for Georgia’s LGBTQ community and played a vital role in stopping the discriminatory ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’ from inflicting pain on our fellow LGBTQ Georgians, and you prevented economic disaster for our state,” the letter begins. “It is our hope that for those same reasons, you will speak out again to stop House Bill 481 from becoming law.”

HB 481 would prevent child-bearing Georgians from having an abortion once a doctor can detect a heartbeat in the womb – usually around six weeks, before most are even aware they’re pregnant. Currently, Georgia law permits abortions to be performed until 20 weeks.

The letter argues the passing of this legislation would be “an economic issue.”

“Georgia’s medical and film communities are inextricably linked to our economy, and business cannot succeed in Georgia unless all sectors of our economy remain strong,” the letter reads. “The medical community has expressed strong opposition to House Bill 481. Film industry leaders have stated that they will no longer recommend Georgia as a production location if this bill is signed into law.”

“Georgia’s economy cannot succeed if over half of its population is subjected to House Bill 481, and businesses cannot continue to attract the best and brightest talent from across the country if repressive and dangerous legislation becomes the law of our land,” the letter continues. “We urge you to speak out now for Georgia’s economy and its people. You stood up for our community; please don’t be silent now.”

HB 481 has passed in both the Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia Senate. It will return to the House, where they will vote on changes made in Senate and, if approved, will go to Governor Brian Kemp, who is expected to sign it into law.

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