Alyssa Milano called for a sex strike to protest restrictive abortion laws — but many women were not on board.
“Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy,” Milano said on Twitter Friday. “JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back.”
Our reproductive rights are being erased.
Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy.
JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) May 11, 2019
In an interview with Associated Press, the actress and women’s rights advocate noted other instances of women withholding sex to hasten political reform, including Iroquois women who refused to have sex in the 1600s as a way to stop unregulated warfare, and Liberian women who conducted a sex strike in 2003 to demand an end to a long-running civil war.
While she had her share of supporters, including Bette Midler, critics were quick to point out a variety of problems with Milano’s stance: Some said the strike assumes that sex is only enjoyed by men, and that the strike suggests women’s bodies are mere commodities to be punitively denied. Others took issue with taking the LGBTQIA community out of the abortion discussion, and focusing on cis/heterosexual sex. Yet others decried the weaponization of sex, or pointed out the strike did not take sexual violence into account.
The abortion bans are horrific, and represent a terrifying leap backwards for womxn everywhere. But the answer is not a sex strike. Women (and anyone who can get pregnant) are more than providers of sex- they can enjoy it too, and a strike merely punished the oppressed group.
— Delaney Tarr (@delaneytarr) May 12, 2019
As someone who has mostly had sex solely because it's fun (which is what the abortion bans are *really* punishing women for), I think this sex strike business is an inappropriate way to deal with sexist men being sexist. Punishing myself doesn't hold them accountable.
— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) May 12, 2019
1. Erasing LGBTQIA folks from the discussion of abortion and centering solutions (if you can call this a solution) around cis/heterosexual sex is counterproductive. https://t.co/yxWkWXHA2M
— Lara Witt (@Femmefeministe) May 11, 2019
Milano told AP that people have to determine for themselves how long the strike should last. “I mean I don’t know,” she said. “I sent a tweet last night I haven’t really thought much past that this morning.”
Milano’s call came a few days after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Milano opposed the bill and had urged the film and TV industry, which shoots many projects in the state, to leave if it came into law. At least three production companies have said they would not film in Georgia since the bill was signed.