Pa. Legislators Want to Declare Pornography a Public Health Crisis

Here’s why – and what others have to say about it.

Pennsylvania legislators want to declare pornography a public health crisis.

On Monday, the Pennsylvania House Health Committee voted 19-5 to approve a resolution that calls for “efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction … in order to counter the sexual toxic environment it perpetuates.”

The resolution is sponsored by committee majority chairman Matt Baker, a Republican from Tioga County. Baker claims porn is harmful for the following reasons:

  1. It contributes “to the hypersexualization of teenagers and prepubescent children in our society.”
  2. It “treats women as objects and commodities for the viewer’s use, teaching girls that they are objects to be used and teaching boys that this is acceptable behavior.”
  3. It “equates torment and violence against women and children with pleasure, increasing the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images and child pornography.”
  4. It’s biologically addictive, per recent research, which means that “the user requires more novelty, which is often more shocking material.”
  5. It has a “detrimental effect on the family as it is linked to the lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage and infidelity.”

Utah became the first state to declare pornography a public health crisis in April 2016. Since then, several other states have followed suit.

If the resolution were to pass in Pennsylvania, it would have little effect, if any, on the porn industry. It’s simply a call for legislators to “acknowledge the need for education, prevention, research and policy change … in order to address the epidemic that is harming the people of our State and our country as a whole.”

Some legislators who criticize the resolution claim it infringes on First Amendment rights, while others claim the resolution barely scratches the surface of an extremely relevant issue: sexual harassment and abuse of women.

State Rep. Kevin Boyle told City & State PA that both the committee and the Pennsylvania House have failed to talk about sexual harassment, which he called “the biggest cultural issue” in the last month.

“The focus should really be on something that women feel every day, not just in this country, but in the western world,” Boyle told the publication.

Others agreed on social media.

The resolution now heads to the full Pennsylvania House.