Workers go on strike. Teachers go on strike. And they all do it for better pay or work conditions.
But a sex strike? That’s Alyssa Milano’s answer to the”heartbeat bill,” which would ban abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected; this can be as early as six weeks.
“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.” Now, she’s doubled down and is claiming there is a “war on women” being waged by the GOP:
“The #SexStrike tweet has reminded people of the Republican war against women… These oppressive, regressive, forced-pregnancy bills are now being discussed in a serious manner on our national news cycle.”
To put things in perspective, here’s what the Alabama bill does: Holds doctors criminally liable (Class A Felony) for performing abortion at any point in pregnancy, or attempting to perform an abortion (Class B Felony); and makes all abortion illegal except if the mother’s life is in danger—there is no exception in the case of rape or incest.
Alabama isn’t alone. Mississippi, Georgia, and Ohio have proposed similar bills, but nothing this extreme. For instance, Mississippi punishes doctors who perform abortions by revoking their medical license, not criminally charging them with a felony; the other difference is that the Mississippi law allows for abortions up until you can hear a fetal heartbeat, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
Yes, these states were probably emboldened to pass these bills restricting abortions because of the conservative majority on the Supreme Court. But it’s highly unlikely that Justices Roberts or Gorsuch will side with these states in overturning Roe v. Wade. For 40 years, the Supreme Court has said that the government does not have any compelling interest in violating a woman’s due process rights by banning abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb—at around 23 or 24 weeks.
Could these new laws move the goal posts? Possibly. Let’s say the Supreme Court revisits Roe, and decides that the litmus test for when abortion’s allowed shouldn’t be when the fetus can survive outside the womb, but when you can hear the fetus’ heartbeat. In this case, abortion is still legal, but only for a shorter period of time.
Back to Alyssa Milano. Calling for a strike implies you want better working conditions or pay. Right off the bat, I think prostitution. I’m thinking of an exchange of something for sex, probably money (or maybe services). And if it doesn’t involve paying (in some shape or form) for sex, it comes across as insinuating that sex is a chore for women, and they just go through the motions. Either way, referring to it as a “sex strike” was bad form, and has the effect of denigrating women. It plays into this idea that women are only “sex objects,” without a brain or any other redeeming qualities.
Apart from the sex strike being ill-conceived, it actually makes it appear that men are imposing these laws on women. The Alabama governor is female, and she just signed in the most restrictive abortion laws on the books. And there are many pro-life women who support these more restrictive abortion laws. You think they’re going to go on a sex strike? Probably not.
It makes sense for workers to strike, but not women by refusing to have sex so that male lawmakers (or “oppressors”) will give them more bodily autonomy. Women aren’t prostitutes or sex objects, and they enjoy sex too. And let’s not forget, many women (some of whom are lawmakers) are pro-life and agree with restrictions on abortion.
Let’s stop the identity politics”— the so-called “war on women,” and talk about the real issue of abortion.