Over the weekend, actress Alyssa Milano took to Twitter to call on all women to join her in a “sex strike” to protest Georgia’s new law banning abortion after a baby’s heartbeat in the womb is detectable.
“Our reproductive rights are being erased,” Milano tweeted. “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.”
Milano’s first point—that women don’t have control over their own bodies—is in most cases simply untrue.
As a star of hit TV shows including “Who’s the Boss?,” “Melrose Place,” and “Charmed,” Milano should know better.
Women in the United States of America are anything but oppressed and are free to govern themselves as they wish. This is unlike Muslim countries such as Iran, for example, where it is mandatory that women wear headscarves in public.
The Georgia law prohibiting abortion when a heartbeat is detectable, which typically occurs about six weeks into a pregnancy, provides exceptions. It allows abortions in cases of rape and incest if the woman files a police report, as well as to save the life of the mother.
Although these exceptions are still hotly debated by many across the country, their presence in the law makes Milano’s point essentially baseless.
Furthermore, the ironic part of this debate is that pro-abortion folks like Milano don’t see the “autonomy” of the unborn child.
What about the bodily autonomy of the unborn baby and the heart of the child that is beating? Does the mother’s bodily autonomy trump that of the body of the baby, and the heart that is beating as well?
Just because the child in the womb is smaller than the mother carrying it, and its level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not as advanced as the mother’s, does not mean that the child’s beating heart, separate from the mother’s, is not worthy of its own autonomy.
Milano’s other point in her clarion call for a sex strike is that somehow by not having sex she will “get bodily autonomy back.”
That’s incredibly sexist. It plays into the type of argument that I would think Milano would be vehemently against.
Women don’t have to withhold sex, or anything for that matter, to gain or exercise bodily autonomy.
The very act of calling for a sex strike illustrates the freedom and autonomy women have to do so.
Women should be withholding sex, or practicing abstinence for that matter, because they choose not to engage in sex—not because they feel the need to prove anything about their autonomy.
I completely support abstinence, and think it’s great that by calling for a sex strike Milano is conceding that the only way to not “risk pregnancy” is abstinence.
Again, she’s exercising her bodily autonomy by the very act of calling for a sex strike.
Milano, currently a star of the Netflix series “Insatiable,” used her autonomy to tell BuzzFeed News that she won’t return to the show if it continues to be produced in Georgia and the heartbeat law is in place.
In an op-ed published Monday by CNN, she doubled down on her claim that life-affirming legislation robs women of their autonomy.
“Laws restricting abortion rights and access are a targeted attempt to erase decades of hard-fought gains for women’s autonomy,” Milano wrote. “A #SexStrike is another way for people who have the potential to get pregnant to call attention to this systematic onslaught and assert the power to change our own destinies.”
Like her tweet announcing her own sex strike, this is is a gross misrepresentation of the truth.
Pro-life legislation such as the Georgia heartbeat bill seeks to protect the life of the child, which happens to be just as deserving of autonomy as the mother’s.
Call it an unpopular opinion, but women who have the potential to get pregnant and aren’t in a place in life where they can bring a child into the world should exercise abstinence, the only guaranteed way to avoid pregnancy.
Women, and men as well, can and should take ownership of their reproductive rights in this way, rather than paying for that lack of responsibility with the life of their child.
Milano is erroneously fighting for the “right” to sleep with anyone she chooses whenever she chooses, and then have the ability to to “fix” the consequences, even when it means snuffing out a tiny life’s autonomy.
That is not the mark of a compassionate and responsible society that respects autonomy.