Governor Gary Herbert is planning to sign a bill into law on Tuesday morning that will officially declare pornography a “public health hazard” in the state of Utah. The Inquisitr previously reported on the Utah porn resolution when it was still being discussed, but now it seems it will definitely become law.
According to USA Today, the pornography bill was introduced in 2015 by Republican senator Todd Weiler as an attempt to reverse the effects of the “pornography epidemic harming” the residents of Utah. Weiler claims the Utah porn resolution isn’t an attempt to outlaw masturbation or ban pornography outright but rather an attempt to protect young children and families from pornography.
“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,” says the bill.
The Utah porn resolution was passed last month, leaving the governor’s signature as the final step before it officially becomes law. At this point, it seems Weiler and his supporters have Governor Herbert’s full support in identifying pornography as “public health crisis.”
This battle against pornography is grounded in claims that “pornography is potentially biologically addictive,” according to CNS News.
Dawn Hawkins from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation also argues that as “pornography shapes the sexual templates of rising generations, violence and abuse of women and children becomes normalized. The government must recognize the science that confirms the harms of pornography, similarly to how it recognized the damage to public health caused by tobacco.”
Along with the resolution is a measure that would require computer technicians to report any child pornography they find on the job to law enforcement.
— Gary R. Herbert (@HerbertForUtah) April 19, 2016
But how exactly does the Utah porn resolution plan to combat the problem of pornography? The bill itself proposes that Utah leaders increase “education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation.”
However, according to the Atlantic,recent data doesn’t actually support the claims of the Utah porn resolution. Rape and violent crime have actually been declining in recent years and, at the same time, that pornography has rapidly increased in accessibility and popularity. In addition to that, correlations between pornography use and negative health outcomes are rarely found by researchers.
“I think the conclusions we can draw from the science are very limited,” said Dr. David Hill from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Other psychologists and sex therapists have accused Weiler and other supporters of the Utah porn resolution of simply stigmatizing sexual activity and pornography without any good reason to do so.
But the Utah governor seems to agree with groups like the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, who claim that not only does pornography “perpetuate a sexually toxic environment” and normalize sexual violence, it is also undeniably addictive.
“If you start with meth or heroin, everyone knows that’s addictive,” said Senator Todd Weiler in defense of the Utah porn resolution. “A lot of people will get kind of lured into pornography, and they don’t know it may actually consume their life.”
However, according to the Huffington Post, neuroscientists say pornography isn’t actually addictive in the traditional sense. Brain scans of people who frequently use pornography revealed that their brains actually react to erotic images in the opposite way that they would to addictive substances like meth or heroin. This means people who compulsively view pornography should undergo a different kind of therapy than those who suffer from substance addiction.
Even so, it seems Governor Gary Herbert will be signing the resolution into law before the end of the day.
What do you think? Is pornography a public health hazard? Do you agree with the Utah porn resolution?
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