Life You
  • Facebook
    Facebook
  • Twitter
    Twitter
  • Pinterest
    Pinterest
  • +
  • Linkedin
    Linkedin
  • WhatsApp
    WhatsApp
  • Email
    Email
SHARE THIS
  • Facebook
    Facebook
  • Twitter
    Twitter
  • Pinterest
    Pinterest
  • Linkedin
    Linkedin
  • WhatsApp
    WhatsApp
  • Email
    Email

Abortions have always and will always be a controversial topic, but it’s one we just can’t quit. In 2019, it feels strange to still be debating the legality of abortions (especially from our position up here in Canada) but the controversial Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, just signed a bill (dubbed the “Heartbeat Bill“) which would ban abortions in the state starting at six weeks after conception.

One of the main issues with the bill is that many women won’t even know they’re pregnant six weeks after conceiving, let alone have time to process the news and make a decision that may be one of the most influential of their lives. The bill also criminalizes seeking an abortion (including out-of-state) with a punishment of up to 30 years in jail, allows miscarriages to be investigated as murder and makes it possible to charge anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion (including driving her to a clinic) with conspiracy.

There has been a mass outrage against the bill’s signing with activists, celebrities and others speaking out in protest against it. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano called for all women to join her #SexStrike and refrain from having sex with men until Georgia lawmakers scrap the bill.

Milano shared an article from Quartz which cites a recent Janelle Monae interview where the singer made her own call for a sex strike and investigates the history of the idea, concluding that the form of activism has worked in the past. The article acknowledges the criticism Monae received at the time, but that didn’t stop the backlash over the weekend as activists came out again to strike down the idea that women should use sex as leverage in their fight for reproductive rights.

So what’s the problem with Milano’s sex strike? Her point is that withholding sex puts the power in women’s hands to deny men something they need women for in order to make a point about women having autonomy over their bodies. The logic in itself is a little disjointed and deeply heteronormative, but it holds up even less when you consider all the underlying connotations.

First of all, it reinforces the idea that a woman’s only value is as a sex object for men by literally turning sex between a man and a woman into a transaction—”Give me bodily autonomy and I will give you sex”—and turns the act into a bargaining chip. Second, it perpetuates the trope of the vindictive woman who uses sex to get what she wants. It also supports the myth that men are the consumers of sex and women are the providers, thus erasing the entire concept of female pleasure and enjoyment of sex.

Twitter users pointed out these flaws and more.

Another big criticism of the proposed strike is that it ignores sexual assault by assuming women always have the power to deny men sex if they want to. A number of sexual assault survivors took issue with Milano’s call for that reason.

A far less controversial action being taken in reaction to the Heartbeat Bill is that four Hollywood production companies have announced they will boycott filming in the state as long as the restrictive abortion laws are in place. If there’s one thing people in power respond to, it’s money. The same technique worked in Georgia in 2016 when Disney, Marvel (still separate entities at the time), Time Warner and others boycotted filming in the state over an anti-LGBTQ law.

A similar situation happened in 2017 when a number of businesses, including Netflix, boycotted North Carolina over their “Bathroom Bill” which required transgender people to use the bathroom which corresponded to their biological sex rather than their gender identity.

The Georgia Heartbeat Bill is set to go into effect January 2020 but will likely see legal opposition in court before that.