Actress and activist Alyssa Milano has proposed a good, old-fashioned sex strike to protest new antiabortion legislation.
Georgia’s new abortion law — among the most restrictive in the United States — will ban abortions as soon as a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, and others states, including Mississippi and Ohio, have passed similar “heartbeat” bills.
Milano posted a call to arms Friday on Twitter, urging people to abstain in protest. “Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy," she wrote. “JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back. I’m calling for a #SexStrike.”
Her political tactic bears an uncanny resemblance to Aristophanes’s ancient Greek comedy “Lysistrata,” in which a woman persuaded other women in warring cities to withhold sex from all the men until they put an end to the Peloponnesian War in 404 B.C.
Milano said she is glad her tweet “has shined a light on the Republican war against women and our bodily autonomy.”
“Mark my words, one of these bills will end up going to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. And if Roe is overturned this will directly impact the women most at risk, the women from low-income communities of color,” she said in a statement Saturday to The Washington Post. "We must take a stand against men legislating our bodies and we mustn’t take for granted the women who fought for our right to sexual liberation and bodily autonomy.”
By early Sunday morning, Milano’s tweet had drawn more than 38,000 likes and 13,000 retweets, some applauding the idea but many others arguing that it only serves to perpetuate the stereotype that “women are providers and men are consumers of sex.”
“This makes it seem like sex is something women do as a favor to men; it also furthers the misogynist theory that women should be shamed for liking sex at all," one wrote.
One person argued that Milano is advocating for abstinence, asking, “And isn’t this exactly what conservatives wanted?” Another said that she is doing the same thing she’s fighting against.
“Isn’t telling women to not have sex also a form of YOU denying them control over their bodies? Doesn’t this also presume that all women are straight and [cisgender]?” Preston Mitchum, chair of the Washington Bar Association, responded on social media.
Still, some supported the idea.
“Great idea!!!” one wrote. “Abstinence is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies!!”