Unsafe, Legal and Wrong

by Marissa Poisson

An Ontario judge ruled on Tuesday that Criminal Code laws against keeping a common bawdy house, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating for the purpose of prostitution violated women’s Charter rights to freedom of expression and security of the person. (Prostitution is not illegal in Canada, but many of the activities associated with it are. Both the federal and provincial governments announced they will appeal the decision.)

What does this have to do with abortion? Firstly, I would say that proponents of prostitution and abortion have in common the idea that legalizing something dangerous makes it safe. Prostitution may become less hidden if the decision survives the appeals, but exploitation does not become safe by virtue of being legal. Similarly, legalized abortion does not change the nature of the procedure. It may be done in government-funded clinics now, but it is still chemically toxic or physically invasive for the woman undergoing it and deadly for her child.

Secondly, I’ve never met a little girl who says she wants to be a prostitute or have an abortion when she grows up. Women are driven to these things by desperation. A few vocal women may claim to be thriving as prostitutes, but most are addicted to drugs, undereducated and abused, and some are victims of human trafficking. Abortion, for its part, is sometimes used to cover up sexual abuse of minors and illicit relationships, and many women feel pressured to abort by outside expectations.

Thirdly, legal is not synonymous with moral. We don’t have to look far in history to find examples of this. Rulings on abortion and prostitution have been based on security of the person, but the safest thing would be for people to stay far away from both. We need to work to eliminate the conditions that lead women to these supposed choices because no legal ruling can make right what is inherently wrong.

3 thoughts on “Unsafe, Legal and Wrong

  1. Random Ntrygg

    Legalizing does improve safety.

    for sex workers, in a brothel is safer than the streets, no pimps, health care, legal wages (& pays taxes) and they can go to the police when there’s a problem.

    for abortion, the illegal abortions were not the same procedures as legal abortions – and the illegal ones often killed the woman, or gave her an infection or caused such damage that the woman would not be able to children in the future.

    and since these are the companion issues that tend to be on the same division line:

    for drugs, alcohol and anything in that category – yes, legal ensures there’s no organized crime involved (saves $ on police, courts, jail, the lost productivity and increases tax revenue), no contamination of dangerous stuff like draino, measured dosages reducing ODs, no stigma to call 911 in case of bad reaction/ODs

    for sex, the more repressed a person is in public, the kinkier they are in private. Sex is healthy cardio exercise, it increases intimacy, it can make babies, and what what one adult person does with one or more consenting other adult people do to each other is not the concern of anyone who wasn’t invited to participate.

    for gay marriage, separate but equal/ equal but different – are not equal – also the above on the consenting adult issue, equal under the law means the law applies to everyone and no one is denied access to the law – marriage includes over 1000 rights and privileges that other types of partnerships do not – in particular, kinship

    what all of these come down to is this:

    conservatives want control of everyone’s private behaviour

    liberals want control of everyone’s public behaviour


  2. Random Ntrygg

    while it’s true that little girls don’t dream of being a prostitute or having an abortion

    a lot of the women in those situations didn’t plan on it either.

    the little girl argument is an emotionalism that undermines making your point. How many kids dream of becoming garbage collectors, janitors, food servers or preparers and a host of other crappy but necessary to society jobs?

    The better argument you can make is:

    How many sex workers want their children to follow their career path?

    relevant, emotionally impactful not in a manipulative or sentimental manner and logical.

  3. Pingback: Ottawa U Students for Life comment on prostitution ruling; the next generation of pro-lifers has arisen! « SoCon Or Bust

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