Alyssa Milano urges women to go on sex strike to protest US abortion laws

Hollywood celebrities are calling for women to go on a sex strike to protest harsh new abortion restrictions in the US.

On Tuesday (local time) Georgia became the fourth state this year to ban abortions after six weeks, which is before many women even know they're pregnant.

Actor Alyssa Milano, one of the leading figures of the #MeToo movement, suggested that in response to male politicians regulating female bodies, women should stop having sex with men.

"Our reproductive rights are being erased," she said in a tweet on Friday (local time).

"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."

In another tweet, she said there are "lots of alternatives to cis [cisgender] men".

"Protect your vaginas, ladies. Men in positions of power are trying to legislate them."

Milano's proposal bears a striking similarity to the central conceit of Aristophanes' ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, in which Athenian women withheld sex from their male partners in an attempt to pressure them to end the Peloponnesian War.

The hashtag #SexStrike quickly trended on Twitter, with some women's rights activists supporting the idea.

Some said it would make men "feel the physical consequences" of the systematic elimination of women's reproductive rights.

Fellow celebrity Bette Midler was on board, tweeting that she hoped women living in Georgia abstain from sex "until these indignities are overturned".

However there was also a substantial backlash to the idea. Critics said a sex strike perpetuated the old-fashioned belief that only men enjoy sex, while women tolerate it as a "bargaining chip".

"This strike may mean well and contain cheap 'feel good' reactions but it pushes a sexist narrative that sex is something WE give to men as a form of currency," one woman said.

Others said they didn't want to deny themselves pleasure because of the wrongdoing of powerful men.

In response to the criticism, Milano maintained it is "just too dangerous to have sex with men nowadays".

She found support from an unlikely demographic: conservative anti-abortion activists who don't approve of sexually liberated women.

Many sarcastically congratulated her on unintentionally "joining the pro-life movement" and claimed that if no women were getting pregnant, there would also be no abortions.


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