Decriminalize Prostitution Now Coalition
Your Tax Dollars Are Being Wasted Ruining Citizens Lives
Instead of fighting real crime

Prostitution... A Right to Privacy?

If anyone has any updates to the 1995 Florida Case
Please let me know!

In 1995 a Florida woman, formerly a prostitute, has sued the state saying that the laws that prohibit her from plying her chosen profession are unconstitutional.

Before you snicker and roll your eyes skyward you need to hear her reasoning. Appropriately naming herself Jane Roe 2 in court papers she has filed her claim based on the same reasoning that the original Roe V. Wade was decided, i.e., that laws prohibiting prostitution violate her right to privacy. After all, she says, if it's a matter of privacy for a woman to pay an abortionist to enter her reproductive organs and remove a baby why shouldn't she be allowed to sell the use of her these same organs?

Feminists are not amused. The head of Broward County Chapter of the National Association of (Liberal) Women stated that no one believes that hookers have any rights. This would make hookers the only unprotected class, aside from smokers of course, in the country.

One of the chief battle cries of modern feminists is that a woman has a right to do with her body as she pleases.

The problem with the so-called right to privacy is both it's vagueness plus the simple fact that it cannot be found anywhere in the Constitution. It came into prominence when Justice William O. Douglas first used it in deciding the Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) case. This case challenged a Connecticut law that banned the sale of birth control devices or the distribution of contraceptive information even to married couples. Was it a stupid law? Yes. Was it enforced? Almost never. In fact the plaintiffs Estelle Griswold and Dr. Buxton, two officers of the planned parenthood league, at the urging of ACLU lawyers, demanded to be, and eventually were, arrested for  dispensing the offending material. They were convicted and fined $100. This turned out to be a very small down payment for judicial activism.

Justice William O. Douglas, speaking for the majority opinion of the Supreme Court, declared the statute unconstitutional. Douglas reasoned that the marital relationship was protected by a constitutional right of privacy emanating from the "penumbras" of several specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights. (Penumbra is defined in Random House dictionary as "the partial or imperfect shadow surrounding the complete shadow of an opaque body in an ellipse" - you figure it out) The freedom of association of the 1st amendment, the 3rd amendment  that prohibits the quartering of soldiers in private homes, the 4th amendment against unreasonable search and seizure and the 5th amendment's self-incrimination clauses were all lumped together to construe a so-called 'zone of privacy'. In essence what Douglas did was bundle together a few written specific rights and create a brand new 'super right'. It took only eight years to extend this right to the unmarried pregnant single woman.  Let's apply this test to the prostitute. Certainly she should be able to enjoy freedom of association (with her tricks) and not be compelled to house the Army (unless they're paying customers). That's Right 1 and 3 covered. Just as assuredly she's protected against search and seizure and self-incrimination.  In fact, no less personage than Ruth Bader Ginsberg, newly appointed Supreme Court Justice, wrote in 1977 that prostitution most likely fell within this 'zone of privacy'. There's one vote right there. It's unlikely, but conceivable, that in a fit of pique Justices Thomas and Scalia, whom have to be frustrated with the Court's refusal to overturn Roe v. Wade, will extend the privacy doctrine to pimps and hookers. That leaves it up to the two justices that have no discernible legal philosophy, Souter and O'Connor, to gaze deeply into their teacups and read the leaves.

We can take this even further to rule unconstitutional all manner of things. The chief one that comes to mind are the drug laws. Why wouldn't this be covered in the 'zone of privacy?' After all, we should be freely allowed to associate with drug users and what we do with our bodies (this right will eventually be extended to men) is supreme.

The reason feminists are loathe to embrace this woman's suit is because of the outcry that would be heard all over the nation. When it was learned that the same reasoning that legalized prostitution was used to legalize abortion this would put the conventional legal dogmas of the past 30 years under a most unwelcome scrutiny.