Should Prostitution Be Legalized?

By Shaun Mullen

tobias_randall.jpg

So Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias has resigned after confirming that he was a customer of a Washington, D.C., escort service whose owner has been charged with running a prostitution operation.

Tobias was the Bush administration’s so-called “AIDS czar” and emphasized faithfulness and abstinence over condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS. But let’s put aside his rank hypocrisy and that of some other social conservatives (Mark Foley was a child predator, Ted Haggard was an antigay homosexual, and so on and so forth) and move on to a more pertinent question.

Should prostitution be legalized?

* * * * *Tobias’s departure brings to 32 the number of Bush administration officials or nominees who have been convicted, copped pleas, indicted or otherwise brought down by scandal. Here is a somewhat outdated list. It does not include Tobias or Robert E. Coughlin II, who was deputy chief of staff of the embattled Justice Department’s criminal division until he was tied to convicted super lobbyist Jack Abramoff whom, um, Coughlin’s colleagues are investigating.

3 Responses

  1. To the majority of laypersons (and consequently the bulk of the voting population) mandatory testing seems like the least that should be expected from sex workers whether they work legally or not. It is a foregone conclusion that prostitutes spread disease and therefore need to be controlled in some manner if we are to maintain public health safety. In fact, many otherwise liberal individuals and groups will champion the opportunity to test and tax prostitutes as major incentives to legalize.

    It matters little that scientific data do NOT support the common belief that sex workers are major contributors of sexually transmitted infections in the USA. The Centers for Disease Control have conducted several tests for HIV seropositivity in prostitutes and consistently conclude “risk factors for AIDS in female prostitutes may be similar to those in other women living in these [tested] geographic areas.” (3) In other words, although the US government would love to prove otherwise, US prostitutes spread no more disease than US housewives and college girls. Some evidence even supports the contention that the presence of prostitutes DECREASES the incidence of STIs as Rita Brock and Susan Thistlethwaite point out in their book, Casting Stones: “When the Chicken Ranch, the famous Texas brothel, was closed, the number of gonorrhea cases in the general population rose substantially. Venereal disease also rose substantially when brothels were closed from 1917 to 1920. U.S Department of Public Health statistics have been consistently reporting that only 5 percent of sexually transmitted disease in the United States is related to prostitution, compared to 30 to 35 percent that is transmitted among sexually active teenagers. . . . The National Research Council notes: ‘Many people fear that prostitutes (who by definition have multiple sex partners) will not adopt safer sex practices with their clients and will therefore be the conduit through which HIV infection will spread to the heterosexual population. Yet existing data on prostitutes do not support this concern.’ “

    3. Centers for Disease Control, MMWR Weekly, Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Antibody to Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Female Prostitutes, March 27, 1987 / 36(11);157-61 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000891.htm

  2. Great comments! This should be it’s own posting.

  3. http://joyofstudying.wordpress.com/about/prostitution-legalization/

    My long writing on pros and cons of legalizing prostitution, plus my personal opinion [I don’t like prostitution but I feel it needs to be legalized.]
    Nice blog–keep it up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: