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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Utah state senator wants to declare porn a ‘public health crisis’

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, February 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Utah State Senator Todd Weiler introduced a non-binding resolution that the state officially recognize pornography as a "public health crisis."

Sen. Weiler says he wants to bring the problem of pornography to public attention and debate. He said he wants to get the word out, because pornography is "like the 1950s of nicotine and tobacco today."

The Utah legislator's resolution calls for public education on the ill effects of porn and the implementation of policy changes to both fight and prevent porn addiction.

Sen. Weiler says the porn problem has exploded with the growth of the internet. "When I was a kid, people might sneak a Playboy magazine and look at it," Sen. Weiler explained. "Now you have all sorts of violent and graphic images that are available to anyone with an internet connection."

Anti-porn organizations applaud the proposed resolution. Dani Bianculli, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)'s Law Center, said her organization "commends this historic resolution and its call for policy changes, education, prevention, and research."

Clay Olsen, CEO and founder of Fight the New Drug, told LifeSiteNews, "We at Fight the New Drug look at the state resolution that is being presented in Utah as a strong step toward a society more educated on the harms of pornography. ... It's good to see the state of Utah take this issue seriously. If the resolution passes, we hope other states follow suit."

Jason Huxley, Founder of GuiltyPleasure.org, said, "Last year, one porn site alone served 75GB of porn per second in the over 87 billion videos that were watched. This means that just one of the many porn websites out there served every person on the earth twelve videos, twisting perspectives on sexuality, demonstrating violence towards women, destroying relationships, and ultimately entering the paths of our children. Has it reached epidemic health crises proportions? I say yes, and I worry about how it's going to affect our kids growing up."

Josh McDowell of Josh McDowell Ministries told LifeSiteNews via an emailed statement, "I personally want to commend Senator Todd Weiler for his wisdom, insights, and bold action on the part of families and young people in Utah. Oh, that others have the courage to act responsibly."

The NCOSE stated on its website, "We applaud this effort and hope that similar resolutions will be passed in all states."

Porn-blocking software company Covenant Eyes released a statement saying, "Covenant Eyes applauds Utah's effort to recognize this growing health concern linked to many societal ills."

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Sen. Weiler's resolution will not change laws legalizing porn, but his intent is to officially label pornography a danger to public health so that people discuss the problem.

Sex addiction therapist Candice Christiansen noted on Good4Utah that studies show that four Utah counties have the highest rate of porn addiction per capita in the country.

"Research has shown that pornography is linked to child exploitation, increased use of prostituted persons, increased sexual violence, and porn-induced sexual dysfunction," Bianculli added. "In this modern age, it is an impossible task to protect one's children or family from exposure to, or from the societal effects of, pornography, which is why it is vitally necessary that it be formally recognized as a public health crisis."

Olsen said, "Based on what science has revealed over the past decade, in addition to the tens of thousands of young people we encounter from across the globe, we wouldn't categorize the influence of pornography as anything but a public health crisis."

Huxley offered an analogy. "When the World Health Organization stands up and says we have an obesity epidemic on our hands, we listen, start feeding our kids healthy meals, and fast food outlet profits fall," Huxley said. "Meanwhile, porn is more accessible than ever before, with little to no protection for our kids, and we stand with our fingers in our ears letting their sexuality be defined by profit-driven producers and websites, instead of our own values as parents. I say, yes, pornography is a health crisis of epidemic proportions."

NCOSE's website notes, "The mounting research is clear. Today's hardcore pornography is significantly linked to increases in sexual violence, decreased brain matter in the regions used for motivation and decision-making, sexual dysfunction, and so much more."

"Designating pornography as a public health crisis accurately describes what porn is doing to our society and culture," said Ron DeHaas, founder of Covenant Eyes. "At a time when nearly every family has been touched by the harms of pornography, this designation of a health crisis treats the problem the way it should be."

Bianculli criticized government officials for allowing pornography to become such a national problem. "The distribution of hardcore pornography, otherwise known as obscenity, is illegal under federal laws that are not currently being enforced," he explained. "The Department of Justice has essentially failed to enforce these laws in the last decade, which has led to pornography's pervasive presence in America today."

Josh McDowell Ministries is co-sponsoring a global "Set Free Summit" with Covenant Eyes this April, which will address the worldwide "porn epidemic" and offer help to its victims.

Sen. Weiler's resolution is scheduled to be heard by the Utah Health and Human Services Committee on Friday.

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