It’s an idea as old as Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (that’s a play from the 5th century BC, kids): women who haven’t gotten their way have decided to withhold sex from their men until the frustrated lugs comply with their wishes. In New York City’s Union Square on Saturday, a pro-abortion protester named Caroline Healey declared: “I think it’s absolutely valid for us to be withholding the Holy Grail that men seem to think is important.” Judging from the many videos that have surfaced over the last few days of green-haired, slovenly dressed, morbidly obese, body-painted pro-abortion protesters, there is only one response: Your terms are acceptable.
Nevertheless, Caroline Healey’s words were eye-catching: she and her pro-abortion allies don’t seem to realize that all too many men whom they count among their ranks are not there because they are sensitive feminists who are attuned to female suffering. On the contrary, many men stand with the pro-abortion crowd precisely because the easy availability of abortion enables them to behave cavalierly in regard to that “Holy Grail that men seem to think is important” and to move from woman to woman without any compulsion to consider a life of commitment and responsibility. If Healey and her ilk want men to think about them as anything other than utterly disposable sex objects, the answer is not a sex strike, but a return to traditional ideas of marriage and family.
American culture has moved so far from those ideas, however, that they don’t even occur to these modern-day Lysistratas. Another protester, Brianna Campbell, said: “If you’re a man who won’t get a vasectomy, even though it’s reversible, and you’re not out in the streets fighting for my rights, you do not deserve to have sex with me.” Healey added: “Why shouldn’t we withhold it if we’re always worried that they’re not going put a condom on, that they’re going take one off after we ask them to? If we can’t safely go out and have sex and know that we will have a choice after that, then why should we be expected to?”
Why indeed? But moral issues aside, these protesters’ worries were still misplaced. They were, after all, standing in New York City. The likelihood that the Big Apple is going to outlaw abortion is roughly akin to the probability that Donald Trump will become its next mayor. Before Dobbs v. Jackson and after it, it’s just as easy for women in The City That Never Sleeps to get an abortion as it has been for decades.
These women are selfless and heroic, however, not to mention stunning and brave, and so their concern is for their sisters who are trapped in pro-life chambers of horror. Another protester declared: “I cannot sit here and imagine what my sisters in red states are going to do if they’re getting pregnant by rape and need to not just carry the tragedy of the worst thing that has happened to them, but also carry them in the body for nine months. If this world thinks that they can oppress women forever, then we close our legs.”
Resorting to murder to assuage the trauma of rape is an odd palliative, but in any case, such cases are extremely rare, accounting for less than one percent of all abortions. Fully 86% of abortions occur because a woman reckons that a child would interfere with her education or career, thinks she is not mature enough to raise a child, doesn’t want to be a single mother, is finished with having children, doesn’t think she can afford a baby, or believes she is not ready to have a child. This is what the pro-abortion forces are fighting for: the “right” to murder a child for any reason whatsoever.
And so one Twitter user posted a graphic that said: “Women of America: Take the pledge. Because SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, we cannot take the risk of an unintended pregnancy, therefore, we will not have sex with any man — including our husbands — unless we are trying to become pregnant.” In response, another Twitter user wrote: “Finally, you figured out how not to get pregnant, that wasn’t that hard was it?” Ouch! Another woman wrote in an all-caps rage: “Women have the power here. No more sex until abortion rights are federal law.”
Women of the Left, once again: your terms are more than generous and gratefully accepted.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.