“Bare it or Bar it?” Should the Government Regulate Adult Pornography? A Debate

By Elizabeth O’Brien

SELINSGROVE, PA, August 1, 2007 ( - In a passionate debate earlier this year, two specialists discussed whether the government should be able to regulate adult pornography or whether the issue should be left entirely as a personal matter, determined only by subjective choice.

The Susquehanna University’s Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society, a society that discusses the role of law in private and public life, hosted the lecture and debate this March, entitled "Bare It or Bar It: Should Government Regulate Adult Pornography To Prevent Exposure To Minors?" The keynote speakers were Professor Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Mr. Michael Johnson, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).

Michael Johnson, who has helped dozens of city governments draft restrictions for Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOB’s), began by pointing out the massive harm caused by the $13 billion dollar pornography industry. In a case in the late 70’s, for example, a study of the City of Detroit found that in some cases the rates of crime, sexual abuse and molestation were 400 to 500% higher in areas where pornography and sex shops proliferated than in other parts of the city. Many other cities and towns have reported similar results.

Johnson also cited cases in which adult pornography was a cause of grievous harm to children. In a certain study of 43 pedophiles, for example, every single one exposed the victim to adult or child pornography in order to lower the child’s inhibitions.

He stated, "Pornography is a major contributor and facilitator in the development of the sexual addiction and depravity, such as child molestation, and exhibitionism, and voyeurism, sadomasochism, fetishism, and rape and all the other perversions. And yet so called soft porn, we know it’s harmful. It can be a gateway to harder material and the societal ills that it brings, and yet it’s protected."

Many people argue that the First Amendment should protect an adult’s right to pornography. Johnson explained, however, that the First does not apply if something is considered obscene.

  Nadine Strossen, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of personal and parental responsibility when it comes to adult pornography. Her central argument was that "in our wonderfully diverse society we all have widely divergent ideas, values, and taste."

She continued, "Those divergent values certainly and especially extend to matters about sexual expression, what we find positive, what we find negative for ourselves and for our children. Therefore, we can’t responsibly delegate these inherently personal choices to anyone else, neither government officials nor our fellow citizens."

According to Strossen, the courts can’t objectively define obscenity because everyone sees the world subjectively. By giving the government more censorship power, people are opening up the door to erratic and inconsistent rulings on what is considered indecent.

She mentions many court decisions which ruled that the constitutional rights of adults to pornography cannot be contravened in order to protect minors. As one example she quotes the Supreme Court stating, "The level of discourse reaching a mailbox cannot be limited to that which would be suitable for a sandbox." She also believes that people should spend more energy tracking and enforcing already existing laws against pedophiles than on cracking down on something that is for adults.

Quoting certain child safety organizations that oppose censorship, she stated, "We cannot put them (children) in a bubble and say, ‘You are never going to see anything that will disturb you.’ Some people will be disturbed by sexual images. Some will be disturbed by violent images. I am in that category. Some are disturbed by discriminatory images. Some are disturbed by antireligious images. We all have very different values."

"But the answer to speech that some of us may find harmful to ourselves or to our children is not to get rid of it, not to regulate it. If we went down that road, there would be no free speech at all."

Johnson agreed that the responsibility should be on the parents. Nevertheless, he vehemently disagreed with the basis of Strossen’s argument. He stated, "The problem is the basis and premise on which she brings the argument is moral relativism and it’s the idea that there is no moral absolute. There is no right or wrong. She ably described it, ‘all of us might define it differently.’

Appealing to the objectivity of moral conscience, he cited a 2006 Morality in Media poll that found that 73% of US adults know that viewing pornography online is morally unacceptable. On the grounds of natural law, therefore, he rejected her arguments.

Read full lecture and debate:

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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 

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Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.

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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.


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