Holland to Start Taxing Prostitutes

The Netherlands will start collecting income taxes from prostitutes this year. Tax inspectors have started to make visits to over 3000 of the country’s prostitutes in order to talk to sex workers about the average number of clients they serve each day, and how much the sex workers charge per visit, in order to make an estimate about the salary range of the prostitutes.

Sex workers are viewed as independent contractors in the Netherlands, and they have not been required to pay income taxes in the past. But Holland is feeling the economic crunch as badly as the rest of the world, and this is no doubt a very practical approach to generating tax revenue. According to the Dutch newspaper Parool:

Prostitutes in Amsterdam did not pay income tax on humanitarian grounds. The taxman always left them untouched. The reasoning was that prostitutes were in fact victims of trafficking, and all were exploited by pimps, and that taxes would cause another form of exploitation. Such leniency was towards both Dutch and foreign prostitutes, but Dutch women were generally treated less leniently than victims of trafficking from Eastern Europe. The new taxes will be equally applied . . .

The City of Amsterdam believes that the exploitation of women still occurs in prostitution, but the Treasury now considers it high time prostitutes to start treating as ordinary taxpayers. (Please excuse any errors in translation.)

[Read more...]

Is There Really a Teen Pregnancy Epidemic?

The second season of MTV’s “Teen Mom” debuted last night. The show features pregnant teens, or young women who have just given birth, and it focuses on their struggles to raise the children while the mothers themselves are still growing into adulthood. The timing of the season premiere could not have been more fortuitous, because an op-ed in today’s Huffington Post seeks to blow the myth of a teen pregnancy epidemic right out of the water.

Choice USA Executive Director Kierra Johnson writes a scathing article, asking pro-choice advocates and policymakers alike to re-examine the way that teen pregnancy is discussed and demonized.

People in every age bracket have sex, get pregnant, have abortions and have children. Sex and the outcomes of sex are not exclusively experienced by teens. Actually, according to the Guttmacher Institute, teens have a lower rate of sexual activity (46 percent) than other age groups, and teens make up the smallest percentage of pregnancies (seven percent, including 18 and 19-year-olds), abortions (six percent) and births (10 percent). The vast majority of pregnancies, abortions and births occur after the teenage years.

So, if people of all ages are having sex and facing the results, why are teen sex and teen pregnancy the problems?

[Read more...]

Tuesday News Roundup

mouse2New, Cheaper Female Condoms Now Available – Hiphop Wired
Holland Imposes Stricter Rules for “Import Brides” – NRC
Breast Cancer is Not Just About Boobies – The Guardian
Is Soy the Ticket to Good Health, or Infertility? – Alternet
Second Trimester Abortion: Breaking the Silence & Changing the Discourse – Abortioneers

Dutch Abortion Boat Runs Aground

women on wavesSeptember 4th marks the tenth anniversary of the founding of Women on Waves, a Dutch group that has provided abortion pills for women in countries where abortion is illegal. Women on Waves used to sail their boat out into international waters to evade anti-abortion laws in the women’s home country, provide the abortion pills, then send the women home. But as of May 18th of this year, the group has run aground, after the Dutch government told Women on Waves that they had to stop. According to the Dutch newspaper NRC:

For [founder Rebecca] Gomperts it was her way to right an enormous wrong: the 20 million women who undergo illegal abortions every year worldwide, and especially the 68,000 women who die as a result each year – a plane crash a day . . .

On May 18, the Dutch government decided to limit the distribution of abortion pills to specially approved clinics only, including for early abortions (up to 16 days after the last menstruation). Until now, WoW was allowed to provide the pill for early abortions based on a written permission from then Dutch health minister Els Borst. [Read more...]