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Names and faces

May 13, 2019 at 2:35 a.m.

Actress Alyssa Milano ignited social media with a tweet Friday night calling for women to join her in a sex strike to protest strict abortion bans passed by R e p u b l i - c a n - c o n - trolled legislatures. The former star of Charmed and current cast member of Insatiable , which is filmed in Georgia, urged women in her tweet to stop having sex “until we get bodily autonomy back.” Her tweet came days after Georgia became the fourth state in the U.S. this year to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. “We need to understand how dire the situation is across the country,” Milano told The Associated Press on Saturday. “It’s reminding people that we have control over our own bodies and how we use them.” She noted that women have historically withheld sex to protest or advocate for political reform. She cited how Iroquois women refused to have sex in the 1600s as a way to stop unregulated warfare. Most recently, she noted that Liberian women used a sex strike in 2003 to demand an end to a long-running civil war. Milano received support from fans. But both liberals and conservatives also lampooned her idea, with conservatives praising her for promoting abstinence and liberals saying she was pushing a false narrative that women only have sex as a favor to men. Milano said the criticism didn’t bother her and that her tweet was having her desired effect, “which is getting people to talk about the war on women.” She said she fears one of the laws could eventually be decided by the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court.

American author Joyce Carol Oates says her family’s denial of its Jewish roots h a u n t e d her for decades and has shaped her into the f a m o u s - ly prolific writer she is today. Oates, who is making her first-ever trip to Israel to receive the prestigious Jerusalem Prize, said that her Jewish grandmother fled persecution in her native Germany to rural upstate New York in the late 19th century. But she repressed her trauma and Jewish heritage for the rest of her life. Oates, 80, who was raised nominally Catholic yet disconnected from religion, said she learned of her grandmother’s secret only after her death in 1970, when a biographer began digging into her ancestry. “I felt an immense loss and sympathy because I never really knew that my grandmother was Jewish, so my whole cultural inheritance was lost,” Oates told The Associated Press in an interview at the Jerusalem International Book Fair on Sunday. “But it’s the Jewish respect for culture and art that I inherited from my grandmother … so that’s actually beautiful.” Oates said her grandmother played an instrumental role in her career choice, giving her a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland , a library card and a typewriter when she was a teenager, inspiring her to pursue writing.

Photo by Invision
Alyssa Milano
Photo by AP
Joyce Carol Oates

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