A Pro-Choice Sex Strike

by Jay Johansen
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A Huffington Post writer calls for women to refuse to have sex with their husbands or boyfriends until these men promise to vote pro-choice. (Texas Women: Stop Having Sex With Men Who Vote Against Your Best Interests) (She's specifically calling for this as a protest against a law being debated in the Texas legislature at the moment.)

"Don't give in if your man, boyfriend, husband, toyboy is not voting for your best interests, your reproductive health -- do not sleep with that man! I don't care how cute or charming he is! I don't care if he is your husband of many years. Resist! Go swimming! Meditate! Do not make him dinner, do not go fetch him a cold beer from the fridge, do not iron that shirt, hell, do not change that diaper... do not make his life a little nicer this summer if he does not "get it" and learn to respect women!" She goes on to urge women to instead spend their time on pro-abortion political activism.

Well now I'm confused.

For decades those crazy pro-life extremists have been saying that if a woman doens't want to have a baby, she should just not have sex. Pro-choice people have tried to patiently explain that that is just not realistic. Women have needs. You cannot expect them to "just not have sex".

But now here is a pro-choice activist telling us that women can and should "just not have sex" to achieve a political goal.

So women just can't possibly refrain from sex to avoid the trauma of unwanted pregnancy -- and pro-choicers explain that even if abortion is readily available, this is a difficult decision that women agonize over, consulting friends, doctors, and spiritual advisors -- but they can manage to refrain from sex as a tactic in a relatively abstract political cause? I don't get it.

Side note: I'd be surprised if this tactic proves effective. Not because I don't believe that women have the intelligence and self-discipline to control their urges in order to achieve long-term goals. Pro-lifers have always assumed that women were rational beings, and not the mindless, uncontrollable mass of hormones that pro-choicers say they are. No, I don't think it will work because I rather suspect that most pro-choice women have husbands and boyfriends who are also pro-choice. How many pro-choice women marry pro-life men or vice versa? I don't have any statistics, but I'd guess it's relatively few. So the only men these women are in a position to pressure are men who already agree with them.

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July 11, 2013

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