IT feels mighty uncomfortable being on the horns of a dilemma, a bit like that photograph of a bull’s head impaling a matador’s jacksie. But some debates become so complicated that you end up having to balance very different arguments before you can come to a settled belief.

I was raised as a Catholic and still have the faint smell of benediction in my nose, but I cannot claim to be a true believer. I have my doubts about the immaculate conception and, sadly, the very appealing parable at the marriage feast of Cana, where Jesus turns urns of water into wine. Much as I’d like that to be true – a soft Shiraz with a nutmeg after-taste, please – it has all the hallmarks of religious symbolism rather than truth.

You can be of a faith and still be sceptical about its most rigid pronouncements.

So let me say from the outset, I have always been pro-choice and fear that the outright ban on abortion that passed recently in Alabama has driven America’s deep south back to a fundamentalism every bit as damaging as the racial segregation of the 1950s.

Alabama has joined the Missouri and Georgia legislatures in banning abortions after a “foetal heartbeat” is detected. Louisiana is also on the precipice of passing a similar law. These are strangely divisive times and women’s rights are at a serious risk of being undermined.

The momentum that drove campaigning Irish women to return to Dublin from around the world to overthrow the 8th Amendment in the Republic of Ireland and repeal pre-existing abortion legislation is now at perilous danger in the southern states of America.

The resistance to new abortion legislation in Texas has been particularly heartening. The dramatic “Handsmaid Protests”, where women appear draped in red cloaks and wearing white bonnets like the characters from The Handmaid’s Tale, are perfect for the social media era.

They are protesting a complicated slate of anti-abortion bills in Texas and, beneath the surface, the imagery is a powerful statement; an intriguing and clever nod to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian story of a theocratic society in the America of the near future. Georgia’s abortion legislation is also dividing opinion not simply along the pro-life and pro-choice binary argument, but about a specific strategy within the pro-choice movement – namely, a boycott of Georgia’s thriving film and television industry.

Pro-choice activists have reached out to Hollywood to say: “Don’t film here, hit them where it hurts – economically.”

Cultural boycotts have worked in the past, most notably in undermining the racist apartheid regime in South Africa, but it is a tactic with a built-in flaw: you run the risk of harming your own supporters.

Over the past 20 years, Georgia has grown to become a major hub for the entertainment industry. One of its landmark successes is the Pinewood Atlanta Studios, with its 18 sound stages and 400-acre backlot, which acts as a southern offshoot to Hollywood and home to major productions such as Black Panther and The Hunger Games.

Georgia is a near-perfect place to shoot high-end productions, with 30% tax incentives and a range of inducements for locating projects there, and has attracted global productions that might otherwise have been lost to lower-cost film communities in Eastern Europe.

Over the past decade, Georgia has benefitted from a migration of artisans and craftspeople, such as carpenters, designers and technicians, who have left Hollywood and decamped to Georgia, where the cost of living is more attractive than in LA. This is exactly the kind of inward investment strategy that Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government yearn for in an industry which remains biased towards London.

The campaign against abortion legislation is now proving to be a threat to the industry. Netflix has already announced it will withdraw production from Georgia, and Variety, the industry bible, recently reported that Walt Disney may follow suit. Disney CEO Bob Iger says his film and TV studios “are likely to vacate Georgia as a production hub if the state’s controversial heartbeat abortion bill becomes law”.

UP until then I thought I knew what I believed, and lazily cheered the boycott, until I read a persuasive argument by pro-choice journalist Becca Andrews in the left-leaning magazine Mother Jones. It was boldly entitled “Don’t Screw Over Southern Women Even More By Boycotting Their States”.

In her polemic, which comes as much from a freelance perspective as a feminist one, Andrews argues: “I understand the idea that economic pressure will force these lawmakers to respond, and maybe it will, but their rationale is not precisely rational, so I wouldn’t count on it. Boycotts like these are just not the best way to effect lasting change.”

There are arguments for and against the boycotts, but it is worth keeping in mind two strands of context.

Firstly, Hollywood is a petrified forest, still reeling from the #MeToo scandals that beset studio chiefs last year. As a consequence, male executives are making grand claims about gender protocol in the press, but are less brave in the boardroom when they are discussing production costs.

Secondly, Hollywood is famously the land of gesture politics – Oscar speeches, fashionable causes and high-profile charity ambassadors. It is great at raising profile and less good at the hard work of fighting what is already a tense and bitter legal stand-off.

In pushing for a re-think of the threatened boycotts, Becca Andrews has argued that “boycotts cost jobs ... they cost the people, not the politicians.”

That has already been borne out by the dismissive attitude of some senior Georgia politicians. Governor Brian Kemp has dismissed the boycott threats as “squawk” from “C-list celebrities”, and claims, disingenuously, never to have heard of some of the shows that Netflix are now refusing to produce in his backyard.

Kemp’s attitude is not far off the cynical political put-down of the so-called ‘‘luvvie eruptions’’, in which anything that actors do to raise legitimate grievances can be casually dismissed.

Earlier this week, Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare in Channel 4’s hit comedy drama Derry Girls, shifted the debate, both politically and geographically. She has made the point that the issues which prevail in the state of Georgia are equally true in Northern Ireland where abortion is banned.

Coughlan, an Irish actress from Galway, has posed a conundrum. Since Stormont is not an active parliament and since Northern Ireland is in the UK, would an equivalent boycott apply everywhere within the UK’s legislative competence?

She too is very clear that a boycott can raise awareness but can also damage the fragile dynamics of the production community in places like Ireland and Scotland.

I know from close-up how determined Screen Northern Ireland and its staff have worked transforming the old Titanic yards into studio facilities to secure the inward investment of Game of Thrones, and a boycott with bite would set them back years.

Coughlan herself said on social media: “I would never boycott working in Northern Ireland, I absolutely love working there and feel like my time is better spent supporting the women there by speaking out in interviews and protesting at Westminster.”

I’ll bow to that decision.