In March, Georgia joined the ever-growing number of states attempting to pass “heartbeat” abortion laws, which would effectively ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy (and before many women even know they’re pregnant). The bill made its way through the state Congress, and on May 7th, Governor Brian Kemp signed it into law. In response to this restrictive legislation, pro-choice advocates have shared their own abortion stories and called for action against the new law. One of the most visible ideas put forth came from actress and activist Alyssa Milano, who suggested that women go on a “sex strike” until the law is changed. However, many feminists and pro-choice advocates think the gesture is misguided.
On Friday night, May 10th, Milano took to Twitter to urge women to abstain from sex until reproductive rights are no longer threatened.
While some were on board with Milano’s proposal, others took issue with it. Some pointed out that a sex strike assumes that all women are cisgender and have sex exclusively with men—specifically, men who are anti-abortion.
Others argued that the premise of Milano’s plan ignores that women enjoy sex, too, and that the sex strike would only cause women to suffer alongside the men they were trying to punish.
There were those who pointed out that abortion opponents want to keep women from having sex in the first place.
And others noted that a sex strike ignores the reality of rape survivors and sex workers.
What are your thoughts on this one?
Our reproductive rights are being erased.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) May 11, 2019
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.
I’m calling for a #SexStrike. Pass it on. pic.twitter.com/uOgN4FKwpg
White heterosexual women are promoting a #SexStrike to get equal rights and seem not to have even noticed that not all women are white nor have sex with men.— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) May 11, 2019
That's some intersectional feminism.
A sex strike? Who are you having sex with that you need a strike to make them pro-choice? I mean— Lyz Lenz (@lyzl) May 12, 2019
A more sustainable model than #sexstrike is this: don't fuck anyone who is anti-choice. Ever.— Geraldine (@everywhereist) May 11, 2019
Judging by my mentions and how they speak to women, this should be easy. They are tempting no one.
A #SexStrike is not the answer because.— Faith Naff🌹🦋 (@FaithNaff) May 11, 2019
- It insinuates women are a sex supply and men are a sex demand.
- It erases queer women.
- It ignores the reality of rape.
Stop pushing this very bad idea.
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
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
Conservatives White feminists— Elizabeth King (@ekingc) May 11, 2019
Telling people not to fuck
The idea of a #SexStrike - where sex is something men seek and women withhold - is the same regressive model of sexuality that Republican men use to legislate! No thanks.— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) May 11, 2019
We live in a world plagued by rape, abstinence-only sex education, rampant sexual harassment, a toxic sexual double standard, and the erasure of queer people, and Alyssa Milano thinks women saying no to sex will solve abortion bans? Give me a fucking break. #SexStrike— Ella Dawson (@brosandprose) May 11, 2019
Rape has nothing to do with sex - it’s about hatred and power, the same causes of women being stripped of their rights. A #SexStrike won’t bring back our rights - voting, supporting women candidates, running for office, and fighting like hell will.— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) May 11, 2019
You objectify & reduce cis women to their sex.— Lily Buttercup ❤ Mike Blossom (@GoFemYourself) May 12, 2019
You exclude queer women & trans people - fuck your cishet normativity.
You disregard sex workers.
You preach sex negativism.#SexStrike is not feminism. This is not activism for women's rights, choices or freewill. pic.twitter.com/hwephUmVIX