ACLU: Prostitutes who give people HIV should not be punished for that

ACLU: Prostitutes who give people HIV should not be punished for that

The ACLU thinks people’s right to control their own bodies is not absolute, and that people can be required to get vaccinated to prevent the transmission of disease, even when the vaccine only prevents transmission of the disease some of the time, and even when the vast majority of people with the disease quickly recover from it.

But it makes an exception to this principle for prostitutes with HIV, who it thinks should not be subject to enhanced penalties for having sex with unknowing customers, even if that gives the customer AIDS, which can cause death or a lifetime of medical problems.  This is very disturbing, because no one should condone prostitutes causing people to die early, by giving them HIV.

The ACLU has just filed a lawsuit on behalf of the AIDS-infected prostitutes who are playing Russian roulette with the lives of their customers:

Since 1991, Tennessee law has stated that a person who knowingly has HIV and “engages in sexual activity as a business or is an inmate in a house of prostitution or loiters in a public place for the purpose of being hired to engage in sexual activity” will be charged with aggravated prostitution.

While prostitution and soliciting a prostitute are illegal in Tennessee, generally resulting in misdemeanor penalties, the Aggravated Prostitution Law carries heavier penalties including jail time and being registered as a violent sex offender for life.

The ACLU, Tennessee ACLU, and The Transgender Law Center have now filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the Aggravated Prostitution Law is unconstitutional due in part to the fact that “HIV is recognized as a disability protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act,”  saying that the law discriminates against those with HIV.

As David Strom notes at Hot Air, the ACLU justifies this insane lawsuit, by stating that “This law … disproportionately affects Black and transgender women.” Never mind that the law also disproportionately protects black people, who contract HIV at higher rates than whites. As Strom observes,

I have news for the ACLU: Knowingly exposing people to a deadly disease disproportionately affects the victim of such exposure….being a patron of prostitutes should not include a life sentence to illness and medicalization, and knowingly spreading a deadly disease should be punished more harshly than selling sex for money.

As Strom points out, the ACLU’s belief that the state should be powerless to prevent AIDS-infected prostitutes from transmitting HIV is logically inconsistent with its support for vaccine mandates.

Remember when vaccine mandates were all the rage? The ACLU supported them, denying people the right to refuse a medical treatment they didn’t want. Here is their statement on the matter:

Far from compromising civil liberties, vaccine mandates actually further them. They protect the most vulnerable among us, including people with disabilities and fragile immune systems, children too young to be vaccinated, and communities of color hit hard by the disease.

Seem consistent with their position on prostitutes intentionally putting people at risk of a disease like HIV?

I didn’t think so. This is about intersectional politics, not civil rights law. The ACLU is choosing sides based not on law, but on their sense that people who engage in prostitution are higher up the intersectional ladder than their victims.

In fairness, the ACLU’s position in this case may be no odder than its past lawsuit in Massachusetts arguing that the First Amendment protects one man’s right to publicly perform oral sex on another man, or its court brief in the Oregon Supreme Court wrongly arguing that the Constitution’s establishment clause banned a private employer from discussing religion in his private workplace (a radical argument at odds with the fact that the Establishment Clause only restricts government expression, not private expression, as the U.S. Supreme Court has explained many times). State ACLU chapters have sent model campus speech codes to colleges in their states, encouraging them to punish as unprotected “verbal conduct” words that courts have found are in fact protected by the First Amendment even when colleges label such words as “harassment” or “verbal conduct.”

LU Staff

LU Staff

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