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Registered User
(5/2/01 7:17 pm)
Argument against legalized prostitution.
I'm constructing an argument against the legalization of prostitution for a future essay. I am asking for some help refining this topic. I welcome any and all criticism and improvement on any of the points outlined.

The argument for:
Two consenting adults can (or should be able to) do whatever they like with their bodies or lives. As long as prostitution occurs between two consenting adults we should abolish laws against it.
(I'm not quite clear on the agrument for; maybe this is oversimplification?)

My argument against:
1) Two consenting adults should not be allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies or lives. I think it is agreeable to everyone that two consenting adults be prevented from dueling, nor should one be allowed to agree to be the other one's slave or indentured servant. Likewise, a man should not be able to agree with a creditor to enter a state of peonage if he defaults on his debts. Indeed it is illegal to do any of these.

2) It's illegal and immoral for such agreements to exist because they would have devastating effects on society.

3) Legalized prostitution would have a similar effect on society. (Here I should probably take issue with those who think prostitution could be technologically perfected by health care and STD testing.)

4) If people, in fact, shouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want with their lives and bodies because sometimes what they agree to do is damaging to not only themselves but to society as well; and if legalized prostitution would have a similar effect; then it's reasonable and necessary to maintain it's illegality.

Edited by: JasonEubanks at: 5/2/01 8:07:24 pm
(5/3/01 9:57 am)
Re: Argument against legalized prostitution.
People add to the argument for by saying "well, if you think government can legitimately control what people do with their bodies then maybe you think forcible sterilization and forcible abortion or maybe forcible organ donations are OK." I think in the end to respond to that kind of argument you have to argue that every government must be based on some moral understanding and that the right moral understanding is the Christian or maybe Catholic natural law one. You have to argue there's nothing specially neutral or universal about liberal morality, and that the system you prefer is in fact preferable.

As to the argument against, you have to expand on the social damage done by legalized prostitution, for example go into what the beneficial moral understandings are that legalized prostitution would undermine. By unusually good fortune there's something on the web that presents views I agree with here.

Jim Kalb and

Registered User
(4/4/02 5:03 pm)
Re: Argument against legalized prostitution.
I'm writing a paper "for" the legalization of prostitution and some of the reasons I've come up to support it are

1) If it is made legal it can be regulated by the government and therefore strict health codes can be placed on it making it safer for the hookers and patrons alike.

2) The government could tax it and then use that tax for local police forces thereby helping eliminate(sp?) crime in the areas it exists.

3) Being a normal business the hookers wouldn't have to fear being beaten or killed as if they were beat their "bosses" would have to pay workers comp and if they were killed while on the job, their bosses could be sued for not being safe. So the hookers would be safer and would be protected heavily by their employers.

4) They wouldn't have to walk the streets.

5) Age restrictions could be put on both hooker and patron.

And there's a lot more. As far as morals go look at porn, drinking, premarital sex, abortion, smoking, strip clubs, and a number of other "immoral" things that are legal. If you don't think it's moral than don't use it. Abortion is legal but if you get pregnant do you HAVE to use it? No. It would be the same for prostitution. And you can't really bring the bible into is as we have a separation of church and state.

So there's my point of view. Good luck on your essay yo.

Registered User
(4/4/02 10:55 pm)
Legalized prostitution
You obviously wrote this in the spirit of a good faith debate so I feel I have an obligation to respond. I already finished the essay so time ago. As for your points:

1) Strict regulation will always lead to a sizeable black market because it is artificially inflates the market price of any good. It costs lots of money to comply with the regulations and that cost is passed on to the costumer. The easy solution is non-compliance. Because it takes no real assets (factories, warehouses) or capital investment to start prostitution rings, they are particularly impervious to regulations. Can regulators inspect for compliance or threaten seizure of assets to force compliance? Call me a skeptic but I rather doubt any of the black market pimps will be thoughtful enough to offer health insurance for their whores.

2) See #1. Taxes have the same effect as strict regulation. The taxes that we pay haven't eliminated crime. Will that extra $5 that we'll pay really be helpful?

3) You completely fail to take in account the black market. It may very well be that legalized prostitution fuels demand for a prostitute's services. It's my understanding the Germany has more illegal prostitutes per capita than it did when prostitution was illegal. Since a black market provider won't comply with regulation or taxes, will they comply with workman's comp legislation (which also adds significant overhead to the operation)? Prostitutes can already sue their pimps. Why aren't they doing that now? Will legalization really change their minds?

4) You've obviously never been to a place where it is legal. Go to the red light districts in Berlin or Amsterdam and you'll see hookers on the streets as far as the eye can see.

5) There's already plenty of child prostitution rings in the US now. Is this likely to change under legalized prostitution?

6) What if the immoral behavior of others effects me indirectly Divorce and premarital sex has given us the single parent "family" which is totally inadequate. Care to check how many convicted felons come from single parent families? Prostitution has always been associated with other criminal activities as well as being a principle vector for catastrophic illnesses (TB, syphilis, AIDS).
Again some studies show that legalized abortion actually raises the rate of illegitimate births; a phenomena it supposedly controls. Prostitution is bad for society. I'm unaware of any appeal to religious principles in my arguement.

Again thanks for the chance to debate.

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