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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/12/19

The #SexStrike and What Rapists & Anti-Choicers Have in Common

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The latest social media movement has been a feminist response to the rash of horrific anti-choice legislation popping up throughout the country: a proposed sex strike. As some legislation threatens serious jail time for women who go outside of the state for an abortion, or even for those who suffer a miscarriage, a drastic response is appropriate.

I would counter, however, that a sex strike has some theoretical, as well as practical problems. First is the fact that it is a response to people who don't respect a woman's bodily sovereignty. As I pointed out on twitter, people who want to force a woman to give birth against her will, likely don't have much concern about consent when it comes to sex. In fact, it kind of misses an important point in the abortion debate: that a woman (or girl!) can be impregnated against her will, as a result of rape.

A conservative responded to my tweet, that I can't seriously be comparing rapists to "pro-lifers." Given that both groups want to force women to do something against their will with their bodies, it's an apt comparison.

Another problem with the proposed sex strike, is revealed by another anti-choice response: applauding the proposed sex strike as "practicing abstinence," as if the issue of choice is simply one of hedonism and irresponsibility.

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Finally, while the sex strike grabs headlines - especially since it was first proposed by a celebrity - it overshadows the deadly consequences of this so-called "pro-life" legislation. First is the fact that childbirth is more dangerous to women than legal, medically performed abortion (in contrast to the consequences of back alley abortions that have claimed so many women's lives.) My great-grandmother died within days of giving birth to my grandmother, at the turn of the 20th Century, when medical interventions were limited. Now, however, there is little excuse - and much shame - for the shockingly high rates of maternal mortality in this, one of the world's richest countries.

It's time for those who want to impose cruelty, misery and death on women and girls, to stop pretending that they own the moral high ground.

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Amy Fried applies her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior to writing and activism on church-state separation, feminism, reproductive rights, corruption, media and veganism.

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8 people are discussing this page, with 18 comments  Post Comment


Amy Fried

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The potential case of a woman being prosecuted for a miscarriage, is subject to an "investigation." Who knows what will determine the results of those.

Submitted on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 7:46:16 PM

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It is perhaps appropriate, on Mother's Day, to remember the women who died giving birth, including my great-grandmother.

Submitted on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 7:47:36 PM

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Finally, some couch anti-choice views as strongly held beliefs. Objecting to the imposition of those beliefs on others, is not in any way an attack on those beliefs. If you think abortion is wrong, then you shouldn't have one.

Submitted on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 8:07:28 PM

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Very important article where a significant point must be made. No baby should be born if the "to be mother" has no love for it. A woman has every right to be the sole decision maker to bring a baby into our world. She may have been raped or forced into pregnancy and more importantly may have no love for the man responsible for the baby. It is fundamental that a baby must be welcomed as a gift and given love. No love - no baby.

Submitted on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 8:51:02 PM

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Reply to Nicholas Ginex:   New Content

Thank you. I do think that there is room for people to choose adoption, if that is what they want, however.

Submitted on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 11:22:32 PM

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That's why people should be married before they have sex!

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 2:27:01 PM

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So, you assume that all intercourse is consensual? Rape victims are to blame for being impregnated against their will?

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 3:17:01 PM

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Amy,

No, I don't agree with your equivalence.

A rape is an act of violence, period, end of story.

By making abortion rights all about and only about a woman's body you are denying the violence abortion does to what is undeniably a form of human life.

I'm not anti-choice, but I'm not pro abortion either. Pro choice is merely the lesser of two evils, the other being half the population required to bear a pregnancy to term while the other half can, and sometimes does, walk away. But I respect those for whom the sanctity of life overrides that concern.

Anti choice = pro rape is the kind of attitude that makes it impossible for progressives and conservatives to have productive dialogue. The other side of that coin is those who oppose abortion and availability of contraception. For them, the Lysistrata approach is probably a good idea.

Thanks to the late Nat Hentoff, a great progressive thinker who years ago helped me reconsider my attitude toward abortion.

Submitted on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 10:45:54 PM

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Reply to Maxwell:   New Content

I never said anti-choice = pro rape. I said the two perspectives share a common disregard for bodily sovereignty and consent.


As I said in my comment, there's plenty of room for respect for people's personal beliefs. That doesn't mean that they have the right to impose those beliefs on others. Religious philosophies differ on the definition of a human life (contrary to your use of the word "undeniably.") To enshrine one religion's definition over others, is to trample on the separation of church & state.


And nothing in my article suggests that I'm "pro-abortion." You don't even know what my personal beliefs would be if I were faced with that possibility. Only that compelling childbirth - which as I said, can lead to maternal mortality - must not be part of our legal framework.

Submitted on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 11:19:30 PM

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I'm going to do a small zig-zag in the discussion here re: your statement, "But I respect those for whom the sanctity of life overrides that concern."

Well, so do I. BUT ...

Most of the so-called leadership advocating forced birth and punishing abortion or miscarriage DO NOT come from a 'sanctity of life' conviction. They simply choose those BS words to hook the people that do.

These legislators and their minions are the warmongers, baby cagers, torturers and thieves. Making life miserable for ordinary people, esp. brown people or those with vaginas is their stock in trade.

Believe what you want. These vultures should never ever be regarded as our moral police.

As free human creations of whatever god, people are entitled to reasonable alternatives, kind advisors and safe medical care........whatever their decision.

Keep the lying, conniving, murderous politicians out of our gynecology offices!

Yes. Abortion kills. So does war, poverty, lead-laced water and for-profit imprisonment.

You want to talk morality; let's talk morality.

We're not merely speaking here to the issue of one's right to be born. We are weasel walking around one's absolute right, once born, to have a life! The US falls miserably short in supporting the means to that opportunity.

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 3:45:05 PM

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Reply to Janet Supriano:   New Content

Love all your points. Would only add that the status of an embryo or fetus is not universally agreed upon.

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 4:05:04 PM

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Reply to Janet Supriano:   New Content

I agree demagogues are using the abortion issue, and other issues, for their own cynical ends. If reasonable people were conducting honest debates I'm sure they could reach a compromise between the immigration hawks and the so-called "open border advocates" in about six hours, for example. Something like abortion is probably less amenable to compromise but at least people could learn to talk to each other and respect their views.

The worst offender is the demagogue we have in the white house. Among his loyal "base" are evangelical Christians. Do you think it's because of his adherence to the principles of loving our neighbors, turning the other cheek when smitten by an enemy and divine forgiveness for the truly repentant, for which their founder was nailed to a cross? Hardly! They support him for his support of right-wing judges who will one day make abortion illegal--including a third SCOTUS unless, God willing, RGB can hang on for the balance of his presidency. I'm almost certain that if the oppo researchers just dig a little deeper they will find the mistress whom Trump paid to have an abortion and keep quiet, but even that probably won't faze the base.

In this era of hyperpartisan politics, language like "people who force women to carry pregnancies against their will are a lot like rapists" (sorry, Amy, if I engaged in hyperbole before but that is what you said, right?) is divisive! For someone who truly believes that having an abortion is exactly the same as delivering your baby then drowning her in a bathtub--which I don't believe, but I don't consider such a belief completely unhinged or irrational--no legal means to stop it would be too extreme. Smug suggestions like "if you think abortion is wrong don't have an abortion" would go exactly as far as "if you think drowning your baby in a bathtub is wrong don't drown your baby".

But if you refuse to acknowledge the feelings of a woman who believes it her God-ordained role to carry a pregnancy and care for the child at home, don't expect her to be sympathetic to your view either. And the chances of ever having an honest debate on the topic in our lifetimes remain close to zero.

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 8:54:16 PM

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Reply to Maxwell:   New Content

Again, the belief you describe may be heartfelt. That doesn't make it deserving of backing by the state. In most cases, such beliefs are based in religion. We are not a theocracy. Religions differ on abortion. The grotesque analogy you propose is not a universal one.

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 9:21:19 PM

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Reply to Janet Supriano:   New Content

What a sane and sober perspective you have!

Some of your comment is below. But I want to add one thing. Our illegal wars based on lies kill millions of men and women and children and yes, unborn fetuses! too...

Janet, from your comment:

Keep the lying, conniving, murderous politicians out of our gynecology offices!

Yes. Abortion kills. So does war, poverty, lead-laced water and for-profit imprisonment.

You want to talk morality; let's talk morality.

We're not merely speaking here to the issue of one's right to be born. We are weasel walking around one's absolute right, once born, to have a life! The US falls miserably short in supporting the means to that opportunity.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 8:21:18 PM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

Another thing. Abortion, like religion, LBGT issues, gay marriage, gun control, and Russiagate, is a polarizing, divisive issue that is calculatingly used in the political landscape to keep the masses distracted from the really important issues that matter the most! Issues like deficient schools, grotesque income inequality, the police state, evisceration of the constitution, and illegal wars based on lies that kill millions and costs trillions of dollars.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 8:50:41 PM

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Thank you!

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 5:35:53 AM

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b. sadie bailey

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I wholeheartedly agree with all that you wrote. Thank you.

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 7:01:34 AM

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Reply to b. sadie bailey:   New Content

Nicholas Ginex gets it: The 'sanctity of life' is often used as an argument against a woman's right to choose, even in cases of rape. I don't buy it: the rapist has no respect for "sanctity of life" - no man (never given childbirth, how could they know what a woman feels?) should tell any woman what she can or cannot do.

I agree with Nicholas Ginex - "no love, no baby." When I think of all the unwanted, abused, molested, beaten, and otherwise psychologically and physically damaged CHILDREN in the world - i do not think all this would happen if they were LOVED and WANTED. I see these children every day and see how they are treated by their parents - and it hurts my heart.

And really? criminalizing miscarriage? are we heading back to the dark ages and burning women at the stake for being healers, herbalists, and being non-Christian (or fill in the blank) ?

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 7:16:31 AM

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