Arizona Wants To Declare Porn A Public Health Crisis
A Republican state lawmaker in Arizona is disturbed about the proliferation of erotic images and videos online and their "toxic" effect on human behavior, has introduced a bill that would declare pornography a public health crisis.
The bill, first introduced by state Rep. Michelle Udall, R, passed through the Arizona House Committee of Health & Human Services on Thursday, the first major obstacle in its path to a possible full vote, AZ Central reported.
The bill has no legal ramifications but states that porn "perpetuates a sexually toxic environment that damages all areas of our society."
“Like the tobacco industry, the pornography industry has created a public health crisis," Udall told lawmakers last week. "Pornography is used pervasively, even by minors."
Udall's bill states the minors exposed to pornographic websites can develop “low self-esteem, eating disorders and an increase in problematic sexual activity at ever-younger ages.”
The bill indicates that scientific research has shown pornography to be biologically addictive.
"Potential detrimental effects on pornography users include toxic sexual behaviors, emotional, mental and medical illnesses and difficulty forming or maintaining intimate relationships," the measure states.
The bill also says excessive porn watching can alter human behavior, which may lead to extreme or violent sexual acts.
It "normalizes violence and the abuse of women and children by treating them as objects, increasing the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution and child porn,” the bill reads.
Udall's opponents agree that too much porn is bad for humans; however, they point out the bill misses the underlying problem.
"If we really want to look at this, we should start with education. It's embarrassing that we are one of the states that does not have medically accurate sex education. In testimony, they were trying to blame everything on pornography. That is a stretch," said Democrat Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, who is sponsoring a different bill, HB2577, that focuses on medically accurate sex education.
"I don't disagree that the bill needs more teeth," said Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale, who voted for the bill, according to the Arizona Republic. "That is our goal."
The bill is being prepared for a vote in the GOP-majority Arizona House of Representatives. Similar bills are being introduced in eleven states declaring porn a public health crisis.