Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Doing what you please with your own body

The government does not permit women to sell their bodies on the street. Are prostitution laws an example of government telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies?

I realize this is not what is meant when people complaining about the government telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. But if it is literally true that a woman has the right to do as she pleases with her own body, then that would apply to prostitution just as easily as it does to abortion.

13 comments:

Ilíon said...

In some circumstances, a woman doesn't even have the right to use her body to decline to assist in the performing of an abortion.

Hugo Pelland said...

Yes, that's why some places already have laws that make it legal for the woman to sell her body, but not for the client. It's weird but it makes it safer for the prostitutes apparently. Even though I wonder whether they really want to do that job; it's complex...

Anyway, I don't know much, and don't know whether that's a good strategy; just saying that there is more to learn about that, if one is interested, as it's not just a theoretical example.

John Moore said...

Yes, the idea of a woman "doing what she pleases with her body" suggests that both abortion and prostitution should be legalized. Same goes for doctor-assisted suicide. I think tattoos should be legal, to be honest. Women should not be discouraged from participating in sports, including at the professional level. There's a whole range of things the government shouldn't criminalize.

The government should certainly regulate some of these things, but it's too draconian to criminalize outright.

Victor Reppert said...

I am inclined to think that prostitution laws, even if we have them, should be primarily aimed at pimps and johns rather than the prostitutes themselves, who are more victims than perpetrators in many cases.

And criminalization inflicts a lot of collateral damage, especially in private areas, because it requires law enforcement to do too much snooping, even on law-abiding citizens, to stop the relevant offenses. Thus, if it is criminal to practice gay sex in my home, then law enforcement has to be empowered to check out my home to find out whether I am having gay sex there or not. That is a price I am NOT willing to pay.

Stardusty Psyche said...

"The government does not permit women to sell their bodies on the street."
Why are you focused on women? Is male prostitution any more legal?


" if it is literally true that a woman has the right to do as she pleases with her own body,"
It isn't. Everything we do requires a bodily action. If it were literally true then we could do literally everything legally.


"prostitution laws, even if we have them, should be primarily aimed at pimps and johns rather than the prostitutes themselves, who are more victims than perpetrators in many cases."
Prostitutes profit by breaking the law. If the activity is to be illegal then those who profit from it should be brought to justice. If the activity is to be illegal then both buyer and seller should not be punished.

Your suggestion is analogous to locking up illegal drug purchasers while selling is to be legal. I do not see consistency in your positions.

Hugo Pelland said...

Victor, well said.

Stardusty, your position is too simplistic. Experts who influence law makers disagrer with you. Again, I am personally not sure what's best to do, but some cities implemented whar you just labeled as inconsistent, so you might want to look into that and comment on their actual approaches and rationales for doing so.

Victor Reppert said...

As I think Hugo realizes, I was talking about where the emphasis should go in law enforcement, not whether what the criminal law should say. Prostitutes will be back at it unless the chain is broken between them and their pimps. They need help finding an alternative way to survive. Their actions strike me as having more extenuating circumstances behind them than the actions of the johns or the pimps.

Stardusty Psyche said...

I think both Victor and Hugo have been influenced by the victimhood of woman and the guilt of man narrative that infects our culture at the moment.

When a prostitute motions for me to to come to her, or puts out her thumb to pretend she is hitchhiking, or knocks on the door of a parked truck, or gets on a CB radio to pull in customers...somehow the client is to blame? The woman is just a poor victim and the man should be the one who is prosecuted?

Women are not angels. Women often victimize others for their own selfish reasons. Women often commit crimes for profit.

The prostitute is the seller. It would be a strange inversion of justice to target the buyer preferentially to the seller.

Ilíon said...

VR: "And criminalization inflicts a lot of collateral damage, especially in private areas, because it requires law enforcement to do too much snooping, even on law-abiding citizens, to stop the relevant offenses. Thus, if it is criminal to practice gay sex in my home, then law enforcement has to be empowered to check out my home to find out whether I am having gay sex there or not. That is a price I am NOT willing to pay."

Do the laws against, say, murder or embezzlement require the police to snoop into the lives of anyone at all to see if they are committing murders or embezzlement in their homes?

At the other end of the seriousness-of-the-crime spectrum, do the laws against, say, jaywalking require the police to snoop into the lives of anyone at all to see if they have jaywalked?

Back when "gay" "sex" was illegal in some locations in the US, were the police in *any* jurisdiction actually doing what you claim they must be empowered to do?

VR: "Thus, if it is criminal to practice gay sex in my home, then law enforcement has to be empowered to check out my home to find out whether I am having gay sex there or not."

The answer to the above questions is, "No". Ergo, this claim does not follow.

On the other hand, back before Anthony Kennedy "discovered" a Constitutional right to engage in "gay" "sex", he *also* hadn't "discovered" a Constitutional right to use the threat of government violence to compel Christians to participate in "gay" "marriage" "ceremonies".

Ilíon said...

Psychotic Dust actually said something both sensible and true ... and I chanced to notice it?

What is the world coming to?

"or knocks on the door of a parked truck"

Many years ago, one of them actually *got in my car* (*). Then, seeing that I had a child with me, she pretended that she had mistaken my car for her friend's.


(*) It hadn't crossed my mind:
1) to lock the car door;
2) that there were hookers there;
3) that one would be so brazen as to get in a person's car uninvited.

Mortal said...

Hah! I was once walking down the street (in a respectable neighborhood) with my wife and was approached by a prostitute. When I said something like "Hey, I'm here with my wife!" she responded, "Well, she can watch!"

Victor Reppert said...

These women seem desperate. The question is whether they are in a position to stop doing what they are doing or what it would take to get them to stop. There is a serious liberation process that has to take place, for the most part, for these women to take their place in society.

On the other hand, this would not be the case for pimps and johns. If a hooker is arrested, she just waits out her time in jail and leaves, and goes back to work unless she is given help to get out of prostitution.

So I think the law enforcement emphasis I suggested is right. You can't fight all battles at once.

But it is true, prostitutes invade our privacy.

Ilíon said...

^ To translate VR's prior post into plain English -- "No choice that any woman makes -- and certainly not the negative consequences -- is ever *her* fault. It's *always* the fault of some man or of all men."