WOMEN
12/05/2019 3:43 AM IST

Alyssa Milano's Call For A Sex Strike Sparks Debate On Twitter

The activist has gotten some backlash from critics who say her proposed tactic to protest restrictive anti-abortion laws misses the point.

Alyssa Milano has proposed that women participate in a sex strike to protest restrictive anti-abortion laws. 

The actress and women’s rights activist shared a tweet on Friday calling for women to not have sex until “we get bodily autonomy back.” Her call came days after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion laws on Tuesday. 

The so-called “heartbeat bill” bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is about six weeks from conception, and before many women know they’re pregnant. Several other states in the South are considering similar legislation. 

“Our reproductive rights are being erased,” Milano wrote on Twitter. “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.” 

Milano later retweeted a 2017 Quartz report that highlighted reports of sex strikes in various countries dating back hundreds of years

In 2003, Liberian Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee notably incorporated a sex strike as a strategy in a women’s peace movement to bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War. Since then, other women have called for such strikes to protest issues, including violence and political conflict

Some women shared support for Milano’s strike on Twitter.

“If they want to control our bodies reproductive organs, [then] we should deny sex to cis men,” one Twitter user wrote

“Join us in helping cis men feel the physical consequences of our reproductive rights being systematically eliminated!” wrote Kate Kelly, a human rights attorney.

Other women took issue with Milano’s call, with some arguing the protest suggests sex is merely a “bargaining” transaction for women.

“Living under patriarchy has already robbed me of safety, autonomy, opportunities, and trust in our institutions,” author Kristi Coulter wrote. “Now I’m supposed to give up sex, too, and play into the fiction that it’s just a bargaining chip/transaction for women? Love you, but nope.”

“You want me to deny myself the one pleasure men offer because what now,” wrote communications consultant and writer Jamilah Lemieux. 

Other women criticized the notion by arguing it disregards women in the LGBTQI community.

“What if I don’t have sex with cisgender men?” wrote Twitter user and #writingforactivists creator Charlene Carruthers. “Does that make me a scab? I’m confused.”

Milano appeared to respond to some of the backlash on Saturday, tweeting, “We can LOVE sex and fight for our bodily autonomy. There are lots of alternatives to cis men.”