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Hollywood studios are sending a clear message to states in the US which are planning or implementing new abortion laws. There has been an uptick in abortion bills across the US as states, mostly in the South, create legislation to ban or severely limit abortions. Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah and Iowa have all passed anti-abortion bills recently.

There has been a massive pushback across the US against the states who are implementing these laws. Georgia is being notably targeted due to the state’s connections with Hollywood. There are more movies filmed in Georgia than anywhere else in the US. It overtook California as the state with the most movies produced there in 2016. There has been huge investment from movie studios to film in Georgia due to attractive tax breaks offered by the state. It is estimated that the film industry is worth around $9.5 billion per year for Georgia.

The law in Georgia means that no fetus can be aborted if it has a heartbeat. This would make abortions almost impossible as there is a heartbeat as soon as six weeks into being pregnant. This is almost always before the woman knows that she is pregnant.

Although all of the abortion laws in each state are being challenged legally, this hasn’t stopped companies from weighing in. Some of the biggest movie and tv studios have expressed their opposition to the law in Georgia. Disney, Netflix, WarnerMedia, Sony and many others have all conveyed their concern regarding the new legislation.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said it would be “very difficult” to continue filming in Georgia. He said “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully.” and continued, “I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there.”

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was more explicit with his comments. He released the following statement; “We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law. It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court. Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there — while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”

It appears as though there will be years of legal fighting ahead. The aim of many of these abortion bills is to get them in front of the US Supreme Court. Supporters for these bills hope that by getting a judgement from the Supreme Court, they can overturn Roe v Wade, a Supreme Court case which legalised abortion across the US in 1973.

Difficult words

Implementing (v): To use or put into effect.

Uptick (n): A small increase or upward trend.

Severely (adv): Strongly, intense.

Pushback (n): A negative reaction.

Fetus (n): The early stage of an unborn human or animal.

Weighing in (v): To add an opinion or get involved.

Heed (v): Pay attention or take notice of.

Explicit (adj): To state clearly.

Overturn (v): To reverse or invalidate.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: 

American English: 

Match the Synonym!

1. Implementing A. Intensely
2. Uptick B. Backlash
3. Severely C. Give an opinion
4. Pushback D. Clearly state
5. Fetus E. Pay attention
6. Weighing in F. Using
7. Heed G. Reverse
8. Explicit H. Unborn
9. Overturn I. Increase

True or False?

1. Hollywood studios are supporting Georgia’s abortion bill.  T / F

2. Several states in the U.S. have recently been creating new abortion bills. T / F

3. The new abortions bills make it easier for women to get abortions. T / F

4. Georgia is being targeted because of their close relationship with Holywood. T / F

5. Georgia is the 2nd most popular place to film movies in the U.S. T / F

6. Studios have made large investments in Georgia. T / F

7. The new bill states an abortion cannot take place if a heartbeat is present. T / F

8. Women normally know that they are pregnant after two weeks. T / F

9. Studios such as Disney and Netflix have voiced their opposition towards the bill. T / F

10. Disney said many people who work for them will no longer want to work in Georgia. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. Hollywood / message / studios / sending / a / clear / are

2. an / has / uptick / been / There / in /abortion / bills

3. across / has / been / a / pushback / There / massive / the / US

4. The / means / law / can / Georgia / that / no / fetus / in / be / aborted

5. around / It / is / estimated / film / that / industry  / worth / is / $9.5 billion / the

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: 

American English: 

Heartbeat Attractive Legislation
Implementing Partners Abortion
Severely Opposition Practical

Hollywood studios are sending a clear message to states in the US which are planning or implementing new abortion laws. There has been an uptick in abortion bills across the US as states, mostly in the South, create ____________ to ban or severely limit abortions. Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah and Iowa have all passed anti-abortion bills recently.

There has been a massive pushback across the US against the states who are ________________ these laws. Georgia is being notably targeted due to the state’s connections with Hollywood. There are more movies filmed in Georgia than anywhere else in the US. It overtook California as the state with the most movies produced there in 2016. There has been huge investment from movie studios to film in Georgia due to ______________ tax breaks offered by the state. It is estimated that the film industry is worth around $9.5 billion per year for Georgia.

The law in Georgia means that no fetus can be aborted if it has a heartbeat. This would make abortions almost impossible as there is a _____________ as soon as six weeks into being pregnant. This is almost always before the woman knows that she is pregnant.

Although all of the abortion laws in each US state are being challenged legally, this hasn’t stopped companies from weighing in. Some of the biggest movie and tv studios have expressed their ______________ to the law in Georgia. Disney, Netflix, WarnerMedia, Sony and many others have all conveyed their concern regarding the new legislation.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said it would be “very difficult” to continue filming in Georgia. He said “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully.” and continued, “I don’t see how it’s ____________ for us to continue to shoot there”.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was more explicit with his comments. He released the following statement; “We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be ____________ restricted by this law. It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court. Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there — while also supporting ______________ and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”

It appears as though there will be years of legal fighting ahead. The aim of many of these _______________ bills is to get them in front of the US Supreme Court. Supporters for these bills hope that by getting a judgement from the Supreme Court, they can overturn Roe v Wade, a Supreme Court case which legalised abortion across the US in 1973.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Is abortion legal in your country?
5. Is it easy to get an abortion in your country?
6. Do you think it’s right for companies to move their business like in this story?
7. Do you think the public will approve of companies stopping film production?
8. Are there any laws in your country which were made because of religion?
9. How religious are people in your country?
10. Is it a woman’s right to get an abortion?
11. Does your country have a good healthcare system?
12. What is a controversial topic in your country?
13. What do you think about women who go to other countries to get abortions?
14. Do you think it is dangerous to make abortions illegal?
15. Are there any circumstances that you think abortions are always required?
16. Is there anything that is illegal in your country that you think should be legal?
17. What is a major social issue in your country?
18. Do you think movie studios would lose fans if they continued to film in Georgia?
19. What do you think about the current rise of far-right ideas around the world?
20. What would you do if you were the head of a movie studio which filmed in Georgia?