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(LifeSiteNews) — Access to Pornhub is now blocked in Virginia and Mississippi for all residents after the states enacted laws requiring age verification for access to pornographic websites.

The new legislation, which took effect on July 1, mandates that Pornhub users submit scans of government IDs to prove that they are at least 18 years old, as Gizmodo has noted.

The pornography site, which has been shown to host child sex abuse material and rape videos, noted in a public statement posted to Twitter that a similar age-verification law passed in Louisiana led to an 80 percent drop in web traffic. However, in the Bayou State, Pornhub has complied with the law by setting up a digital wallet for users to verify their age. 

READ: Lawmakers are finally moving to protect children from the scourge of online pornography

While the site’s traffic plummeted, Pornhub claimed its users “did not stop looking for porn” but “just migrated to other corners of the internet that don’t ask users to verify age, that don’t follow the law.” 

“We have made the difficult decision to fully block our site in Virginia and Mississippi, as we have also recently done in Utah,” the statement continued, arguing that the site has “opted to comply with” the law in this way “because it is ineffective and worse,” adding, ironically, that it “will put both user privacy and children at risk.”

Pornhub is now imploring viewers in these states, using a pop-up video message from a pornography performer in place of the normal site, to contact their elected officials and ask them to reconsider these laws.

Pornhub said that it prefers age verification to be enforced at the device level.

Texas has passed similar age-verification legislation for access to obscene sites.

Over a dozen states have declared pornography use to be a public health crisis, as research mounts demonstrating its negative psychological, social, and physical impacts.

“Numerous studies have now connected pornography use to lower mental health outcomes, lower relationship well-being, and detrimental expectations and beliefs about sex and sexual intimacy,” testified Dr. Brian Willoughby, a professor of family life at Brigham Young University, as Utah passed its own resolution declaring that pornography is creating a public health crisis.

His research linked early exposure to pornography to “an increased probability of addictive and compulsive behaviors developing in adulthood.”

READ: Major pornography site blocks access in Utah over new age-verification law

Brain scans have shown that viewing pornography stimulates the brain’s reward circuitry in the same way as alcohol and addictive drugs, by releasing dopamine. Over time this can result in hypofrontality, a shrinking of the brain’s prefrontal cortex that leads to diminished impulse control.

Compulsive pornographic intake has been associated with erectile dysfunction.

But the viewer is not the only one who suffers.

Dr. Jennifer Brown, who is on the board of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, said that pornography “fuels heinous crimes such as sexual abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking.”

One study found that viewers are more likely to rape, sexually harass, or physically or verbally intimidate another person in order to “obtain sex.”

Another study found that those who watch pornography are less concerned about sexual trafficking than those who do not.

Dawn Hawkins of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) mentioned pornography as part of a “seamless” connection of all forms of sexual violence, which should be seen as a “continuum.”

Dr. Mary Anne Layden, a psychologist and director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania, told LifeSiteNews that there is no “bright line of demarcation” separating child abuse, sexual trafficking, and pornography; all reinforce one another.

“The average age of becoming a child prostitute in the U.S. is 12,” she said. “We call them a child prostitute until the day after their 18th birthday, and then we say it’s adult consenting sex.” Pornography is often the next step, yielding greater financial rewards for the same service, which is often rooted in reliving childhood trauma.