Singer Bette Midler is taking a page from history to encourage women to go on a sex strike to protest the draconian Texas anti-abortion law.
“I suggest that all women refuse to have sex with men until the are guaranteed the right to choose by Congress,” Midler tweeted.
The proposed action evokes Lysistrata, a play from ancient Athens where the women of Greece denied men sex until they ended a war between nation states. The main character is believed by some scholars to be loosely based on the real-life Athenian activist Lysimache.
Actor Alyssa Milano similarly called for a sex strike in 2019 after a controversial anti-abortion “heartbeat” law was passed in Georgia, but later shot down by the courts.
Midler was moved to push for action by the extreme new Texas law, the most restrictive in the nation, that criminalizes abortions after just six weeks, before most people even realize they’re pregnant. The Supreme Court refused to take immediate action to block the law.
The statute also sets up a bounty system for vigilantes who report people seeking abortions and can collect a $10,000 reward if they successfully sue those who “aid and abet” an abortion.
Not everyone praised Midler’s protest. Some said it “demeaned” women’s rights as merely transactional by presenting them as only “granted” by men in “exchange for services.”
Another said that the stunt implies straight women have sex to please men, not themselves.
Many noted that Midler’s message underscores that it takes two to make a pregnancy, yet women are the ones singled out for shame and penalties for an abortion, while men can easily dodge any responsibility or consequences.
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