Keep Your Law Off My Body, err, or Maybe Not

Massachusetts liberals up the penalties for women (and men) using their bodies in ways the government does not like.   Proving once again that the women's groups' motto, "keep your laws off my body," was in fact a fake libertarianism, aimed at exactly one thing -- abortion -- and nothing else.  Those on the Left who mouthed this slogan seem to be A-OK with regulating consensual sex, salt and soda pop consumption, access to medical procedures, health care choices, etc.

Also, this seems to be yet another law that purports to promote women's rights by treating them like they are ignorant rubes unable to make the smallest decisions for themselves.  The implicit assumption in the law is that all prostitutes are in the profession solely due to male compulsion.  This is consistent with a certain philosophy among feminists that all behaviors of women with which they don't agree are not due to a normal excercise of free will by people who simply have different preferences, but are due to some sort of enslavement by the patrimony.

But one high-priced online hooker said she’s no victim — and she doesn’t know any women who are.

“If you are an escort, you go into it of your own free will,” she said. “Absolutely no one is forced into doing this. You don’t have to be affiliated with any agency. I’m not forced to do anything I don’t want.”

What’s more, the new law’s focus on johns, she said, will hurt her lucrative-though-lawless trade.

“If that’s the law that’s been written, then yes, it’s going to impact business,” she said when read the new penalties.

There is no doubt that some women get into situations where they are abused or forced into work or have a large portion of their earnings taken.  But this tends to be a result of the profession being underground, giving women no legal recourse when they are abused and defrauded.  If one really is worried about women's working conditions, the best thing to do is legalize prostitution, instantly giving them access to the legal system to redress wrongs.


  1. me:

    There is the interesting argument to be made that anyone who sincerely believes they ought to make rules for other people to live by should be declared unfit for public offices...

  2. joe:

    Your objection assumes that legal prostitution is a possible outcome in this area. It's not. There's no advocacy group trying to bring it about. Social conservatives would strongly oppose it and if feminists pushed it they would look out of touch with mainstream values. This would reduce their ability to accomplish other things that are important to them.

    Once you accept that than intelligently eliminating it seems like the best possible option. IF you’re a feminist this seems like a good law. If making it legal is ‘best’ that decriminalizing it is ‘next best’ The fines will fall on the buyer, not the seller so in a sense it decriminalizes the act of selling your body and criminalizes the act of buying sex.

    So the OMG HIPPOCRITTSSSSS!!!!!! Post is somewhat superficial in that it assumes they (feminists / the left) have rejected a more consistent option.

    Also, there are very few examples of historical situations where prostitution has been free from coercion and exploitation so if your goal is to better the lives of women legal prostitution seems like an iffy proposition at best.

  3. A Friend:

    joe, I'm glad John Adams didn't have your attitude, or he would have thought living without a king was an iffy proposition at best.

  4. Goober:

    Also, there are very few examples of historical situations where prostitution has been free from coercion and exploitation

    But we're not talking about historical situations, Joe, we're talking about the 21st century. Let's look at contemporary examples. The Bunny Ranch in Nevada is a perfect example - do you think that those women there are being coerced and exploited? Forced into something they don't want? I would not think so, and the reason is that because the trade there is legal, they have labor laws and courts to back them up to ensure that they are treated well by their employer.

    Your objection assumes that legal prostitution is a possible outcome in this area

    yes, because we have no contemporary cases in which it has been legalized and that has worked out very well. Oh, wait, I just gave one above? Huh...

  5. Sam L.:

    There is no situation that cannot be made worse by well-meaning (in their own minds) people--those who know what's best for all of us, and have the one size that fits all of us.

  6. joe:

    Goober, The buny ranch has done little to nothing eliminate criminal prostitution. So it's not a very good model. Amsterdam's red light district would be a better model of how legalization could work, although it has it's own problems with trafficking and exploitation. But my point remains that legalizing all prostitution in main is not possible at this point in time.

    Maybe "possible" is too strong a word, but I think it's so unlikely that the difference between it's likelihood and impossible is effectively zero.

  7. Horspool:

    As Coyote points out, any and all "trafficking and exploitation" problems with prostitution result from government interference in the free market-- if prostitution were legal virtually all such problems would instantly evaporate (leaving no more than a residuum of the occasional fraud or business misconduct which occurs in all industries, even the grocery business).

    But more to the point, Coyote doesn't seem to grasp the reason that "feminists" howl for laws against prostitution. It's the same reason taxi-medallion owners howl for laws against jitney operators: both hate competition.

    Wives and would-be wives (i.e., most women) don't want to compete with prostitutes for cash and attention from men. Indeed, women hate prostitutes precisely because they offer men a different deal-- a little money for a little time and attention, with the chance of variety-- which some men will prefer to the standard deal of "all your money for no variety."

    The "wives'" problem is worse now than it ever was, which is why prostitution is more illegal now (not in lawbook terms, but in terms of active enforcement) than it ever was before the 1980's: long ago wives at least bore children for their husbands and cared for their homes. Modern women don't mix marriage with children,* and rarely act as homemakers-- if they have any kids while married they put them in daycare. So unlike the pre-Pill days, when even men with easy access to prostitutes (common-- all cities had brothels which were "tolerated" so long as their owners paid the standard bribes to local pols) wanted wives to bear children and make a home, nowadays men have ever less need for wives, so would-be wives are ever more frantic to outlaw prostitutes.

    *Upper-class American women hardly bear children at all (typically only one, at age 38), and while lower-class American women have plenty of kids, they could care less about marriage-- most of them bear only half-siblings begotten by a series of different boyfriends.

  8. sux2bme:

    “Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.” -- Mark Twain

  9. Not Sure:

    "The buny ranch has done little to nothing eliminate criminal prostitution."

    Do you really suppose eliminating criminal prostitution is the Bunny Ranch's responsibility?

  10. model_1066:

    I think you meant that they were enslaved by the patriarchy, not patrimony.

    I wonder what the response from feminists would be if someone were to suggest that Planned Parenthood advocate sterilization as much as abortion...I think they would oppose it on phony moral grounds, when the real reason would be that it would result in less abortions!

  11. Goober:

    Goober, The buny ranch has done little to nothing eliminate criminal prostitution. So it’s not a very good model.

    I fail to see your logic. It isn't the Bunny Ranch's place to eliminate criminal prostitution. It is an example of what LEGAL prostitution would look like - and what it DOESN'T look like is a criminal enterpirse where the women have 10 times the chance of being murdered as their non-prostitute peers, where they are being explouted, and where they have no recourse if they are taken advantage of.

    The illegal prostitution business in Nevada only exists because fo the prohibition within the limits of the City of Las Vegas, so it isn't even fair to say that it has been legalized in Nevada since the main place it would be plied is still prohibited.

    Amsterdam’s red light district would be a better model of how legalization could work, although it has it’s own problems with trafficking and exploitation.

    I'm not going to tell you that it won't be a seedy business, even if legal. it will. It will be the sort of enterprise that I'd never be a part of. However, at very least we won't be spending massive sums of money enforcing against, jailing people for, and ignoring a vulnerable segment of our population as outlaws, simply over a mutually agreeable transaction being undertaken by consenting adults that is hurting no one else.

  12. Slocum:

    Martha Coakley? Might've guessed. That woman is real piece of work:

  13. Colonel Mustard:

    I have no sympathy for the women or men that do this. One set of laws for everyone. That's it. Why should someone be free to prostitute himself or herself?

    "one high priced online hooker" - why bring that up? It's still a person choosing to be a criminal that you're talking about. "high priced" doesn't make them special neither does their use of the internet.

  14. me:

    @Colonel Mustard: this is an often encountered Meta-Problem. The debate raging here is one about whether or not the law make sense.

    I've long suspected that we would simplify these discussions greatly for the future by passing a law that forbids breathing under penalty of death. It would hardly change anything about civil rights in this country and settle once and for all the "It's the law" line of argumentation.