Utah Lawmakers Call Porn a Health Crisis

     SALT LAKE CITY (CN) – A Utah Senate committee unanimously approved a resolution declaring a “pornography epidemic” a “public health crisis” which is “addictive” and “is linked to lessening desire in young men to marry.”
     State Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Salt Lake City, introduced Concurrent Resolution 9 on Friday. It declares that “pornography is a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.”
     It calls for increased education, prevention, research and policy changes in the Beehive State, “to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the citizens of Utah and the nation.”
     A Harvard study of 2009 found that residents of Utah, home to the conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were the nation’s top consumers of online porn.
     Weiler’s 3-page resolution states that porn “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment,” leading to a “lessening desire in young men to marry,” dissatisfaction in marriage and infidelity.
     Weiler says the average age of exposure to porn is at 11 to 12 years old. This causes low self-esteem, body-image disorders and hypersexualizes youth, the resolution states.
     “Due to advances in technology and the universal availability of the Internet, young children are exposed to what used to be referred to as hard core, but is now considered mainstream, pornography at an alarming rate,” according to the resolution.
     It says that porn “treats women as objects and commodities,” teaches girls “to be used and teaches boys to be users,” and normalizes violence and abuse of women and children.
     Pornography equates “violence towards women and children with sex and pain with pleasure,” resulting in an increased demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images and child pornography, according to the resolution, which the committee sent to the Senate floor.
     Weiler, 48, recently likened porn addiction to cocaine use.
     “I have read books and I have experts tell me pornography is more difficult to overcome than cocaine,” Weiler told The New York Daily News.
     Weiler told Courthouse News that Continuing Resolution 9 was written by the National Center for Sexual Exploitation, and based on a collection of papers from a July 2015 symposium at the U.S. Capitol, “ Pornography : A Public Health Crisis.”
     Gail Dines, a professor of sociology at Wheelock College in Boston, said in the report: “Today’s porn is not your father’s ‘Playboy.’
     “Type ‘porn’ into Google, and you won’t see anything that looks like the old pinups,” Dines said. “Instead, you will be catapulted into a world of sexual cruelty and brutality where women are subject to body-punishing sex and called vile names.”
     Dines is the founder and chairwoman of Culture Reframed, which bills itself as the “first health promotion effort to recognize and address pornography as the public health crisis of the digital age.”
     Enough Is Enough, a nonprofit “with a mission to make the Internet safer for children and families,” lauded the resolution.
     Enough Is Enough CEO Donna Rice Hughes said that “deviant and extreme” Internet porn has become “increasingly more mainstream” since 1994, when her group was founded.
     “This unanimous landmark decision shows the courage and conviction of a legislative body to deal with unpopular and often misunderstood social justice issues such as pornography,” Hughes said. “Numerous peer-reviewed research studies continue to reveal that Internet pornography use is a fueling factor in the sexual exploitation of children, violence against women, sex trafficking, sexual and erectile dysfunction, and physiological and chemical changes in the brain.”
     Hughes called for a “shared responsibility” between the public, corporations and government “to curb the continuous flood of Internet pornography in our nation.”
     “Now that science backs up the reality of Internet pornography’s harm to children, adults and cultures, we are hopeful that other states will address this serious issue very soon,” Hughes said.

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