It's hard to keep the difference between abortion and prostitution straight when you're a misogynist idiot. This explains why a lawmaker from North Idaho asked representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho if they supported prostitution, since, you know, they support abortion. Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d'Alene posed the thought-provoking question to ALCU-Idaho Executive Director, Monica Hopkins, on Wednesday at an ACLU legislative breakfast presentation. The question drew audible gasps (because people must have been blown away by his philosophical mind). Rep. Mendive figured the ACLU, which is pro-choice, must support prostitution because it's a "woman's choice." He explained his brilliant logic thusly:
"I think that there's kind of a double standard.... With abortion there are two beating hearts, and prostitution, there's just one. If a woman were going to make a choice to be a prostitute, that's her decision as to what to do with her body."
Putting the definition of beating hearts aside, that's a great point, because we all know about the correlation between number of heartbeats and choice-making. What the hell is he talking about?
Let's help poor Rep Mendive out, shall we, and explain why the prostitution-abortion comparison, seductive though it may be, doesn't work.
1. Prostitution, unlike abortion... is... ummm... illegal, as Hopkins explained using language that is probably a few grades above Mendive's level of comprehension:
"He was correlating a criminal action with something that is constitutionally protected. Those are two completely separate issues....When we're talking about women's rights, and a woman's right to choose, we are talking about reproductive rights that are constitutionally protected. What Rep. Mendive was talking about in the arena of prostitution is something that the state has very clearly said is an illegal activity ... in the same way that someone may choose to rob a bank, but that would be criminal activity that is not constitutionally protected."
2. Prostitution and not always a choice.
But Mendive is an expert on volition and prostitution as well as rhetoric and logic: "Actually I grew up in Kellogg, and the reality is there used to be brothels in Wallace. That was a career choice – no one forced them into that." (How would he know? Maybe, being the intellectually rigorous philosopher/ sociologist that he is, Mendive conducted extensive polling of said prostitutes to determine their motivations. Or he's well-versed with the feminist debate on the free will behind prostitution.)
Clearly, this is a man with women's bodies on the mind. And maybe Rep. Mendive got confused because prostitution and abortion both involve lady parts. But you know what Mendive should have asked the ACLU? If they support Brazilian bikini waxes. Because those are legal and a woman's choice.
Lawmaker compares abortion, prostitution [Coeur d' Alene Press.]
Idaho lawmaker equates pro-abortion rights to pro-prostitution [The Spokesman Review]