A moral argument for the abolition of prostitution.
Metropolitan State University
The proposed legalization or abolition of prostitution within American society is a debate that involves issues pertaining to our understanding of personal freedom and how our religious and cultural beliefs either limit or define that freedom, as well as our responsibility as a society to respond morally and ethically to acts of personal choice which deviate from those laws which society has created. Through objective analysis of empirical facts and testaments of personal experience we will attempt to cultivate a better understanding of our laws and the moral compass which guides them in an effort to develop a sound plan for the proposed abolition of prostitution within our society.
People within society generally consider religion and morality to be acutely related. The danger in establishing law based solely on religious moral ideology is that it proposes a type of moral superiority which elevates itself above other religions, cultures and minority groups within a given society in an oppressive manner. Arguably the biggest problem with this method of thinking however, is that morality can become quite arbitrary. Author and attorney Joseph Sommer describes in no uncertain terms the reasons why prostitution should be made legal from what he terms the humanist perspective. In his endeavor to make a case in support of legalized prostitution Sommer draws a comparison between rights to things such as birth control and abortion as issues which he claims have similar legal standing with regard to people’s fundamental rights. Sommer categorizes these fundamental rights as, “Similar to issues such as birth control, abortion, and the right to death with dignity, this issue involves people's fundamental rights to control their own bodies and decide the best way to conduct their lives.”(Sommer, J. 2009) Sommer makes a strong argument regarding the fundamental rights of human beings in relationship to the law. Based on the legal precedence of issues such as abortion, birth control and the right to death and when viewed from a purely legalistic point of view it is a compelling argument that prostitution be made legal, if nothing else, by virtue of our constitution.
Before delivering a verdict however we must first analyze the criteria upon which our fundamental rights have been founded. Given the fact that we are arguing the issue of prostitution within the context of American culture and society it is fitting that we refer to the very document of historical significance that has lead us to the establishment of our freedom, The Declaration of Independence which states; When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. (http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/) As the very basis of freedom within our society, freedom as we know it, was and is today based upon the authority of the universal natural laws of entitlement that have been bestowed upon us by God. The common dispute and misconception concerning this type of thinking is that laws within American society are innately based on a subjectively narrow understanding of morality as it relates to God. Contrary to this belief however we find that it is not a subjectively narrow point of view but rather the general consensus of all major religions within the United States that serves as the basis of such fundamental rights. Law professor David Richards posits that, “The requirements of this moral point of view were expressed by...
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