Despite the mixed reaction to her call for a sex strike to protest restrictive abortion laws, Alyssa Milano says it has definitely helped raise awareness.
“My purpose for sending out that tweet was simply, I felt like these bills were being ignored and sending out that tweet, look at me now, I’m on your show and we’re talking about women’s rights and how they’re being rolled back,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday night.
Three days after Georgia’s governor signed the controversial “heartbeat bill” – banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks – the actress went on Twitter to call for a sex strike until “we get bodily autonomy back.”
Many women were critical of the strike, saying that it assumed sex is enjoyed only by men and that women’s bodies are commodities that can be denied to men as punishment. Some people also pointed out that the sex strike ignored LGBTQ people and didn’t consider the possibility of sexual violence.
Following the response, Milano later tweeted: “The #SexStrike tweet has reminded people of the Republican war against women… These oppressive, regressive, forced-pregnancy bills are now being discussed in a serious manner on our national news cycle.”
On Tuesday, Milano told Cuomo the issue needs to be taken “incredibly seriously.”
“These bills are ridiculous,” she said. “In Georgia, the heartbeat bill, basically criminalizing abortion after six weeks. Most women don’t know they’re pregnant before eight weeks. I was eight weeks before I found out.”
‘Nobody wants to get an abortion’
Milano said Tuesday sometimes an abortion is inevitable.
“I don’t think there’s a human on the planet that is not pro life. Nobody wants to get an abortion,” she said. “But there are circumstances that we cannot avoid. There’s the mother’s health, there’s just not being ready … And what that means financially.”
“Just because there are women that don’t believe in abortion doesn’t take away someone else’s right.”
When Cuomo asked whether it is time for women to come together, Milano said the “key is to communicate, to figure out what the best thing to do is.”
“Meaning there are many people on the ground, these grassroots organizations like Sister Song that are fighting these bills in the South. We have to come together as a collective voice. We have to turn this fear that we’re feeling right now into power and into votes in 2020,” she said.
On Roe v. Wade
As Milano spoke, the Republican-led Alabama Senate was debating the most restrictive abortion bill in the country – which later passed 25-6. The bill now heading to the governor’s desk would give doctors up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion. It does not include exemptions for cases of rape or incest.
Such bills, Milano said, will affect communities of color more than any others.
“Any woman of privilege that lives in one of these states, if this goes through, they’re going to be able to travel to a state to get a safe reproductive healthcare,” she told Cuomo. “But for the women of color, for the women that are marginalized, for the women that are (in) low-income communities… these bills are going to be catastrophic.”
In Alabama, lawmakers have pushed the abortion ban forth with the ultimate goal of overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case legalizing abortion.
“These are serious bills, although absurd, and the reason why they’re absurd is because they’re going to end up in court and why is that important? Because eventually one of these cases will end up in the Supreme Court,” she said.
American Civil Rights Union of Alabama Executive Director Randall Marshall said that his organization would join with the national ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Planned Parenthood of Southeast to challenge the bill in court within “a few weeks” should it become law.
“These bills make sex and getting pregnant extremely dangerous for women,” Milano said. “So at some point, we have to really consider what it means.”