A newcomer named Stella stopped by my blog in the past 24 hours and left a calling card. (see link below) Ever interested in other women’s lives, I checked out her blog. Stella is a survivor of a difficult life and she says she is an ex-prostitute. Now I find this interesting because I have not known a prostitute before. Oh sure, like most people, I have had friends who slept around, as my Mom would say, but I never knew anyone who did it for money. Or have I?
Not too many years ago, some feminists claimed that if a man supported you and you had sex with him that was tantamount to prostitution. This applied to married women too. In other words if you were trading sex for a hopefully decent material life you were a prostitute. (I haven’t let anyone support me financially since.)
Cover via Amazon
One of the issues women argued about in the nineteenth century was whether or not you were a prostitute if you used contraception with sex. The more conservative women refused to use birth control because they said, “Only prostitutes use contraception.” (Despite this rhetoric, and to the contrary, birth control and abortion were readily available in the nineteenth century so someone was using it. Don’t believe me? read Devices and Desires by women’s historian Andrea Tone for an update. (If you check this out on Amazon, read Barbara Seaman’s excellent review.)
Now being a semi-wise person, I won’t get into an argument about birth control and abortion, but will say, like pornography, no one has ever been able to control it. No one…ever.
Demographers study this topic. For example, a few years back before his people killed him, Communist Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, president of Romania, concerned with the very low birth rate in his country, banned legal abortion. Overnight, the birth rate shot up. You can see the evidence in Romanian census data. And, the evidence still exists in the faces of the children who were born during this period and then abandoned as ‘unwanted’. However, demographers note, the birth rate which rose almost overnight, just as quickly plummeted back to its previously low levels in Romania within a year or two after the ban.
As with pornography, folks found a black market willing to sell the services it demanded. This happened in nineteenth century America too, where the number of children per woman dropped from 7 to 3 by the end of the century….Oops, there goes another myth, the large Victorian family. And, yes, there were exceptions, but mostly among immigrant families. (Great Grandma Schmidley, a devout Catholic, had 15 children (Grandpa was number 14). However, that was not the norm if demographers are to be believed.)
Knowing how government policies regarding the control of fertility always fail, I have developed a strong belief in the idea that governments should stay out-of-the-way when it comes to human reproduction. The government should not err on either side, promoting contraception via birth control clinics dispensing birth control, nor banning it via some convoluted scheme. Governments have little or no business in this business.
Health issues are a different matter of course, and if dispensing condoms reduces the transmission of STDs which end up costing the taxpayers $$ for health related costs, then I am for it. OMG I’m beginning to sound like a libertarian.