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Friday, April 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Booksellers Challenge Oregon Censorship

PORTLAND, ORE. - An Oregon law that prohibits distribution of sexually explicit material to minors interferes with the right to provide sex education books protected by the First Amendment, Powell's Books and Planned Parenthood claim in Federal Court.

Oregon Statute 167.051 to 167.057, signed into law in July 2007, is "unconstitutionally vague because it fails to provide fair notice as to what constitutes a criminal offense," the complaint states.

The law does not require intent to harm. It makes it a crime to provide sexually explicit material to a child "if the person intentionally furnishes a child, or intentionally permits a child to view, sexually explicit material and the person knows that the material is sexually explicit."

Planned Parenthood claims the law will impair its ability to provide sexual education.

The ACLU and Powell's Books, the country's largest independent book store, are among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Stoel Rives and the New York firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal represent the plaintiffs.

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