The above term is almost meaningless. It's usually whipped out in a debate about social responsibility, and it is used to excuse the speaker's unwillingness to take responsibility for social ills that are the business of everyone in a democracy.
The vapid nature of the term was never more apparent to me than when it was whipped out in a discussion at Alas, a Blog over a post I wrote about how the lives of myself and my friends are markedly better than those of our ancestors, and how much of this has to do with our control over our reproductive capabilities. It was suggested that women could and should put up with it if our access to birth control was taken away, because we still have "personal reponsibility" if we get pregnant or not.
See? It's a meaningless term. What that means is that women could simply slap their legs together and not have sex again if they don't have birth control and don't want babies. Or, more to the point, it means that when women do fall pregnant because they had sex without birth control, we will cheerfully blame them and not worry about it forevermore, because they got what they deserved for being "irresponsible".
This is the impossible choice that women have just been released from--chastity or shame? Celibacy or repeated childbearing? The problem with casually suggesting that someone just take on lifelong celibacy as a birth control method to assuage the right's overbearing desire to control women's bodies isn't just that it's unfair, it's also impossible. Celibacy is unnatural and has never been widely practiced in history and never will be. It's like suggesting that instead of giving people information on how to eat healthy so they live longer, you just suggest lifelong fasting. Hey, a tiny majority of people fast on and off their whole lives--monks, nuns, other religious people. Why not everyone?
To my mind, these debates are extremely silly and slow down progress for no real reason whatsoever. I suggest that instead of getting into high-minded arguments about how all of society would be better if we could all supress our natural urges with the same grace as the Buddha or Thomas Aquinas, we address these issues in a "reality-based" frame of mind. In the real world people, and that includes women for those unclear on the concept, are gonna fuck. Let's just assume that's true because it is. Now how do we deal with the results of that fact?
Watching that documentary that I mention below, the most startling thing was how far up their asses the abstinence-only people had shoved their heads. They simply couldn't acknowledge that people, as a general rule, have sex. All the platitudes in the world have never changed that fact before and they aren't going to start changing it now. But they were just certain that the vast majority of people were perfectly capable of ignoring their powerful physical urges for years at a time, and therefore sexual health information wasn't necessary. And when unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases spread like wildfire, those who asked people to substitute health care with "personal responsibility" refused to take responsibility for the obvious damage their policies had brought onto the community.