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Current Page: Politics | Friday, February 07, 2020
Utah bill to require warning labels on porn, describing ill effects on mind, self-esteem

Utah bill to require warning labels on porn, describing ill effects on mind, self-esteem


A newly introduced proposal in Utah requires pornography to come with labels warning of "addictive sexual behavior" and "low self-esteem" among other ill effects in the latest legislative push against porn.

According to state Rep. Brady Brammer, R-Highland, the proposed label on pornography circulated in the Beehive state warns of impairment of “brain development, emotional development, and the ability to maintain intimate relationships,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday.

Exposure to porn may also result in “the improper objectification of and sexual violence towards others, among other numerous harms,” Brammer’s label would also say.

“The idea is we’ve already found that ... exposing minors to pornography can be extremely damaging,” Brammer said, drawing inspiration from a California measure, Proposition 65, which required warning labels on products that contain certain cancer-causing chemicals.

“We’ve already made that finding as a state. So [the bill] says, well, let’s put a warning label on pornography, and we’re going to enforce it the same way that California’s Prop 65 is enforced,” he said.

Defenders of pornography often do so on First Amendment grounds. The lobbying arm of the pornography industry and longtime foe of anti-porn activists is called the Free Speech Coalition.

Brammer’s bill stipulates such warning labels ought to be displayed on the cover of any pornography print publication or shown for at least 15 seconds prior to the viewing of online explicit videos or images.

While the labels may not dissuade minors from looking at porn, the Utah lawmaker said, it may give them more time to reconsider watching or prevent them from seeing it lest they stumble upon it accidentally.

“It’s a clear demarcation of, you know, I’m not supposed to be here,” he said. “They could ignore it. But that’s how every warning label works.”

Those who decline to affix the labels could face fines up to $2,500 for every violation, he said. Brammer's bill also allows individuals to take legal action against pornographers who do not place warning labels on the material.

Utah is among the 15 states where legislatures have passed resolutions declaring pornography as a public health crisis, linking it to domestic violence and human trafficking.

The ubiquity of porn has also inspired greater movement among conservative intellectuals and thought leaders in recent weeks.

In December, four Republican members of the House of Representatives wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr to address the scourge of porn with the appropriate legal tools available in keeping with then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign pledge to enforce existing obscenity laws.

"Child pornography is on the rise as one of the fastest-growing online businesses with an annual revenue over $3 billion. The United States has nearly 50% of all commercialized child pornography websites. Pornography is ubiquitous in our culture and our children are being exposed at younger ages. Nine in every ten boys under the age of 18 have seen porn. Children are struggling with pornography addiction," said Rep. Jim Banks, R-Indiana, one of the authors of the letter in an interview with National Review at the time.

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