Last night, just as I was about to go to sleep, I read about actress Alyssa Milano’s call for a “sex strike” to protest all of the “heartbeat abortion bills” that have recently been introduced by Republicans eager to make a name for themselves by helping to overturn Roe v. Wade. Personally, I really think “making a name for themselves” is mostly what these legislators so hell-bent on stripping women of their rights to their bodily autonomy are after. I don’t believe that a lot of Republicans– Donald Trump especially– really give a shit if a woman has an abortion. They’re pandering to right wing Christian wingnuts, who want to control women. They’re after votes. And they’re pushing the United States back into the Dark Ages. I don’t think they care, though. They’re mostly after money and power and motivated entirely by greed. That’s just my take, anyway. Especially since most of them don’t give a flying fuck about caring for the children who have already been born.
Anyway, I had a favorable first impression of Alyssa Milano’s proposed sex strike, perhaps inspired by the Greek play, Lysistrata, or other true incidents in both distant and recent history, where women have denied sex to men to effect change. I have read that other women think it’s a dumb idea. I’ve also read that the pro-lifers have said they think it’s a good idea, which clearly wasn’t Ms. Milano’s intended target.
Personally, I think feminists who think a sex strike is a “sexist”, punitive idea, or that going on a sex strike uses sex as a weapon, are completely missing the point. Alyssa Milano correctly points out that if the predominantly male lawmakers who are trying to take the abortion choice away from women are successful, getting pregnant will become a huge liability. Unprotected sex between males and females cause pregnancies. Getting pregnant in a state where a woman can go to jail for having an abortion is very risky. Alyssa Milano correctly points that out in her call for a sex strike. You can choose to join her, or not. Frankly, I think women of childbearing age who are in a state where these heartbeat bills are being discussed would be very smart to embrace masturbation and let the men do the same. It’s the safest sex you’ll ever have with someone you love. Aside from that, people have the right to choose whether or not they want to have sex, regardless of the reason. So if someone decides to go “on a sex strike”, that’s their business. You can, likewise, choose not to strike if you disagree.
Some of the heartbeat bills being proposed go further than simply making abortion illegal after six weeks. In Georgia, for instance, the proposed law would make it illegal for Georgia residents to leave the state to get an abortion. A woman could legitimately go to prison for simply choosing whether or not she wishes to birth a baby and having the misfortune of living in Georgia. Since men can’t get pregnant, they won’t be affected by this draconian law, even though all unintended pregnancies are partly caused by men.
Sex is a very effective motivator. Withholding sex, as a lot of women already know, is a powerful bargaining chip. While some people might think the idea of a sex strike goes too far and also penalizes women, I think this issue is serious enough that withholding sex in order to force the issue is warranted. Although the heartbeat bills will certainly be challenged and it is unlikely any will become law in the immediate future, they are a legitimate threat to women’s and children’s health. After all, babies who are born to people who aren’t ready to be parents are going to be in a more precarious position than babies whose mothers are ready. I specifically mention mothers because for those nine months in the womb, it’s the mother– and the mother alone— who is taking care of that developing fetus. And in order to best take care of the fetus, she has to take care of herself, first. We don’t have enough resources for people who have already been born. Or, maybe we do have enough resources, but the people who control them are too selfish and greedy to share them with everyone.
So… I agree with Alyssa Milano. It’s too risky to get pregnant in Georgia or Ohio or any of the other states where ignorant politicians like John Becker, who thinks ectopic pregnancies can be fixed by simply transplanting the fetus in the uterus, are in charge. I think John Becker should have surgery to implant his brain into his head, since it’s clearly currently in his ass and he’s been sitting on it for far too long.
Of course, I also think that a lot of people are way too free with their DNA as it is. I think more people should use birth control, particularly when they aren’t ready to be parents or don’t want to have a baby with their sexual partner. I’d be for abstinence for that reason alone, although I know it’s not realistic.
I’m going to turn 47 next month. I won’t be having any babies, and it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever be pregnant. So, I guess I don’t personally have a stake in this situation, except for the fact that I’m a woman and was lucky enough to come of age in an era when I could have chosen to terminate a pregnancy if I’d wanted to. There are situations in which abortion is not only desired, but advisable. When a woman has been a victim of rape or incest, or is in a situation in which her life or her fetus’s life is in jeopardy, she should be able to get an abortion if she wants or needs it. She should be able to make that decision on her own, without any input from uninvolved people. A woman who has a miscarriage should not have to worry about being under suspicion for having done something to cause the miscarriage. She should not have any concerns about going to jail for losing her baby in utero. Pregnant adults should not have to worry about doing things that are perfectly legal for non-pregnant adults to do. Pregnant children should never be forced to risk their own health and/or very life to bring into the world a baby that they are not at all prepared to care for, simply due to dangerously ignorant male politicians who insist that every unborn fetus must be born no matter what. Especially since so many of them don’t give a shit about those babies once they’ve left the womb.
Although I don’t always agree with Alyssa Milano’s views, you can count me among the pro choice people standing with her idea of a sex strike. I think it’s a fine concept. If you don’t, that’s your privilege. Be sure to enjoy it while you still can.