Sex Work, Gender, and Reproductive Rights

Sex Work, Gender, and Reproductive Rights

This post is the seventh of a twelve-part series to publicize candidate answers to our Electoral Questionnaire. Candidates were required to answer all questions to be eligible for Boston DSA’s endorsement.

Boston DSA will vote on endorsements at the July 21st General Meeting.

This section asks candidates about fully decriminalizing sex work, racially motivated “trafficking” stings, working with sex workers to improve working conditions, improving access to abortion services, and gender identity discrimination.

When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation to fully decriminalize sex work?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • I have not considered this issue and can’t commit until I understand more about it.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes.

Segun Idowu

  • I am open to this idea but need would need to work with groups like DSA to understand the issue further

Nika Elugardo

  • Yes, prohibition of sex work doesn’t work, and enforcement disproportionately affects women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and marginalized communities.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes. Though I also want to see significant protections added to the law to help prevent trafficking.

When you are in office, will you propose or support legislation that adopts the model of demand-side criminalization, that is, one that criminalizes the purchase of sex while decriminalizing the selling of sex?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes.

Segun Idowu

  • In principle, yes. Again, this is an area where I would like to work with DSA and other advocacy groups to understand more fully.

Nika Elugardo

  • Decriminalizing the sale of sex is a good step, but without decriminalizing the demand side it’s at best a half measure. I don’t support decriminalizing only one side of the selling of sex.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes.

When you are in office, will you support MA H. 3499 “An Act Decriminalizing Prostitution” in its current form, which implements Nordic Model style reforms, or Demand-side prohibition?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • I have not read the bill and don’t have time to read it and make an informed decision before the deadline for submitting this questionnaire. I promise that I will read the bill and consider it.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes.

Segun Idowu

  • I would support such legislation, yes.

Nika Elugardo

  • We should decriminalize sex work. Prohibition doesn’t work, and it puts sex workers in vulnerable positions. I would want to work closely with sex-worker advocates to understand what that community needs. I do not support demand-side prohibition because it isn’t real decriminalization: It will still lead to a black market in sex work, and it will subject sex workers to increased contact with the police as the demand side is still criminalized.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • I’m not familiar with the details of this particular legislation, so I’d need more details. But base on my limited knowledge, it sounds right to me in concept.

When you are in office, will you support and propose legislation that limits the power of law enforcement and immigration officers to target immigrants and minorities in racially motivated “trafficking” stings on massage parlors and hotels as well as sweeps in neighborhoods which lead to deportations and the criminalization of low-income workers?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • I do not know enough about this issue to answer this question, but I commit to learning about it and working to prevent racially-motived stings and sweeps of all kinds.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes.

Segun Idowu

  • Yes.

Nika Elugardo

  • I strongly support laws to prevent law enforcement from using racially motivated tactics of any sort, and that’s not limited to issues related to sex work. Our justice system should focus on building strong communities, not punishment, and these stings and sweeps in low-income neighborhoods do NOT make us a safer or a stronger community.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes. See prior responses.

Are you willing to work with sex workers and sex work advocacy groups to improve the working conditions and address trafficking with the benefit of lived-experience data and on-the-ground understanding of the issues at hand, which only sex workers and former sex workers can provide?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes, of course.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes.

Segun Idowu

  • Yes.

Nika Elugardo

  • Yes, I strongly believe that sex workers and advocacy groups have a key role to play in crafting policy, and I would want to meet and work with advocates to ensure we are crafting good policy.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes.

When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation that protects and enhances current access to abortion services, reaffirms the rights to safe and legal abortions, and ensures that everyone can afford abortion, regardless of income, so that abortions are effectively safe, legal, and free?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes. I also support the repeal of all of the outdated “Crimes Against Chastity, Morality, Decency and Good Order” in Chapter 272.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes.

Segun Idowu

  • This is a fundamental right, and I will do everything in my power to protect it and defend against attack.

Nika Elugardo

  • Absolutely, yes.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes. I support these bills as a step to allowing young women to control their bodily autonomy despite age and protect them from unnecessary scrutiny or harm.

Darrin Howell

  • Yes.

When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation that removes restrictions to access on abortion through parental consent laws, and what is your position on MA H. 3649 and H. 893?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes, I have supported this change for decades.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes. I support any and measures to invalidated anti-abortion statutes in our commonwealth.

Segun Idowu

  • I will support legislation that removes restrictions to access on abortion through parental consent laws. I would support MA H. 3649 as advanced by Rep. Connolly. I’m not familiar with “H. 893.”

Nika Elugardo

  • I strongly support removing restrictions on abortion and not requiring parental consent. I would need more information on bills H3649 and H893, but I cannot support H893 as written, since it still would require parental consent for women under the age of 16. It doesn’t go far enough. I would want to work closely with women and pro-choice advocates on this, but it seems like H3649 fully strikes age and parental consent requirements, and I strongly support that. It may seem radical to some people, but we need to trust girls and women with control over their bodies.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes. And I support the Acts to Ensure Teen Safety and Safety of Young Women. Many people don’t know it, but we actually have some old, crazy laws on the books that were rendered moot by Roe v. Wade. With the threats we face at the federal level and from the courts, we need to take local action now to remove the pre-Roe ban on abortion, restrictions on where abortions can be performed, even limitations on who can receive contraceptives.

When you are in office, will you propose and support legislation that promotes the expansion of gender-neutral bathrooms in public spaces?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes.

Segun Idowu

  • Yes.

Nika Elugardo

  • Yes.

Darrin Howell

  • Yes.

When you are in office, will you support to keep Chapter 134, “An Act Relative To Transgender Anti-Discrimination,” in effect, that is, the 2016 law that protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity in public spaces?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes. I talk about the anti-trans referendum we must defeat on November 6th everywhere I go.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes.

Segun Idowu

  • Yes. It is a shame that we have to defend basic human rights on the ballot this year.

Nika Elugardo

  • Yes, and I and my campaign are talking about this law and the importance of keeping it while on the campaign trail. Representatives from my campaign attended a recent Jamaica Plain Forum (sponsored by Freedom For All Massachusetts, Keshet, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and several local and state elected officials) to learn ways to support explicitly protecting transgender people from discrimination in public spaces and to oppose the repeal of Chapter 134.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes.

Electoral Questionnaire main page

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